Cactus fruits, also known as “prickly pears,” are any number of fruit nodules that grow wild on the nopales cactus in the deserts of Mexico and the southwestern United States. Although prickly pear juice is sold in bottles, nothing compares to the sweet taste of their fresh flesh and spitting out the numerous seeds. To peel the fruits: Hold them with a pair of thick leather or work gloves, cut off both ends, cut a slit down the length of the fruit, then remove the prickly skins with a pair of tongs. Although they come in a variety of flavors and colors, I find the ones with the bright pink flesh to be the most tasty and the drinks from them come out more festive looking, too.
- 4 prickly pears, peeled
- 4 ounces tequila
- 1 1/2 ounces triple sec
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Coarse-grained salt for rimming (optional)
- Lime slices for garnish (optional)
- Place the prickly pears in a blender and pulse until liquefied. Strain the juice into a small bowl (you should have about 1 cup of juice).
- Fill a large cocktail shaker with ice, add the prickly pear juice, tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and sugar and shake vigorously.
- Pour into glasses filled with ice, rimmed with salt or sugar, if you like. Garnish with lime slices.
For a fancy party cocktail, combine some chipotle chile powder with your coarse-grained salt before rimming the glasses. The smoky, spicy salt will make a nice complement to the sweet, fruity drink.