Prickly Pear Lime Margarita (Prickly Pear Syrup)

prickly pear lime margarita blog

The other day, I stumbled upon some gorgeous purple prickly pear at the farmer’s market. I’ve seen them on the roadside in the past few weeks, ripe and beautiful. But never have I had the nerve to stop and pick them. Besides, they have spines that will definitely cause some painful regret if you grab them bare-handed. But lucky for me, these kind farmers had already removed all the pain from my fruits, and so they were ready and waiting for me.

Only I didn’t really know what to do with them.

prickly pear

I asked the farmer – they said they juiced them. Said that you can eat them raw, but that they are not actually sweet. I happily took them home (with color like that, how could I not?) and started to look around for inspiration.

Most of what I saw was jelly, juicing, and….margaritas. Somehow, that’s where my attention stayed. It might be autumn tomorrow, but around here, it’s always margarita season. And what better twist to a traditional margarita than to add prickly pear?

I made a simple fruit syrup with the prickly pear, strained it, and then went to town. With a little lime, tequila, and Cointreau, and I had a drink worthy of a party, right in my little hand. The color is spectacular (yes, it really is that bright!), and the drink is floral, subtly sweet, sour from the lime, and of course, the tequila is definitely there to give you the strength and punch you need in a good margarita.

Of course, this prickly pear syrup is good for more than alcoholic drinks, although I have no problem using it for just that. Add it to some club soda, add a spritz of lime juice, and you have a nice kid-friendly prickly pear soda. You could also stir some into a glass of iced tea.

Me? I might just stick to the tequila. At least with this batch. Don’t judge.

Prickly Pear Syrup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Syrup made from fresh prickly pear fruit, perfect for margaritas, sodas, or teas.
Recipe type: beverage
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Serves: 3-4
  • 5-6 prickly pears, spines removed (store-bought should be spine-free, but if you harvest your own, follow these steps)
  • 2 c water
  • ¾ c granulated sugar
  1. Slice the prickly pears in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Roughly chop the flesh. Add the prickly pears, water, and sugar to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the fruit is soft and the liquid is reduced.
  2. Place a fine-meshed sieve over a bowl and carefully pour the prickly pear and juice through the sieve. Press the pulp and seeds against the sieve with the back of a spoon to squeeze out all the juice. Throw away the pulp and seeds.
  3. Place the juice in a jar and refrigerate for up to a week. Use in sodas, teas, or margaritas.

Prickly Pear Lime Margarita
Prep time
Total time
A twist on a traditional margarita - with prickly pear syrup!
Recipe type: beverage
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Serves: 1
  • 2½ oz tequila blanco
  • ½ oz Cointreau (or triple sec)
  • 1½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • 2 oz Prickly Pear Syrup
  • Margarita salt, for glass (if desired)
  1. Wet the rim of a margarita glass with a cut lime and dip into margarita salt, if desired. Fill halfway with ice.
  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, mix the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and Prickly Pear Syrup. Shake well, and strain into the margarita glass. Serve.
  3. Makes 1 generous margarita.


red beans and rice blog

Authentic Red Beans and Rice

Yes, I realize that I’ve posted a version of this recipe before, long ago when my photography was just atrocious (actually, that was one of my better ones, which is kind of sad), and my blog was still just a baby and had like five followers, one of which was my Grandma. In those 5+ years, I’ve…

Read More »

hatch chile corn salsa blog

Hatch Chile and Corn Salsa

I know it’s September, and some of my Canadian friends are even experiencing snow already. But seeing as how it’s still warm here (we’ve “cooled down” to the low-to-mid 90s), I’m going to have one last summer hurrah with this recipe. Sound good? Hatch chile season is waning, but I managed to grab some good…

Read More »

Brownie Bark

Review and Giveaway: Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen

Update: This contest is now closed. Marilee Dempsey is the winner! Congrats, Marilee! I’ve followed Silvana Nardone for several years now, even before she released her first book, Cooking For Isaiah. I loved that her recipes were often focused on making things delicious and with the approach that even with celiac disease, one doesn’t have…

Read More »

farmers market stash

Keeping it Real: Food Choices and Healthy Eating

A farmer’s market stash from a few weeks ago Do you consider yourself a healthy eater? Do you know someone else who could be considered as such? If so, I imagine that some consider certain foods “healthy” or “nutritious”, and others are considered “bad”. These terms are synonymous with our culture, it seems. We talk…

Read More »