Prickly Pear Margaritas

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As a Texan, I appreciate a good margarita. As a frugal Texan, it’s not often that I splurge on a good margarita. I vaguely remember the days of 99¢ margarita happy hours in my college days, but that was a LONG time ago! {And I’m not positive those were GOOD margaritas…}

Nowadays, who has time for happy hours? And more importantly, where can you find a 99¢ happy hour?! I might make time for that!

After my prickly pear adventures, I posed the question to y’all on my social media outlets:  What do you do with prickly pears? The unanimous response:

PRICKLY PEAR MARGARITAS!

That got my attention!

Oh-My-Lanta, they were good! Now that I know how to make these margaritas, I may never buy a margarita again. These Prickly Pear Margaritas were honestly one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

And so simple! And beautiful! And just the right combination of sweet to sour! And the perfect amount of “whoohoo” in the tequila, if ya know what I mean.

This recipe will make ten 8 ounce margaritas, assuming 6 ounces margarita mix and 2 ounces ice {volume}. At the end of this post I’ll also share the measurements for a single margarita, in case you just want a treat every once in a while.

 

This is what you need for the perfect Prickly Pear Margaritas:

Prickly Pear Syrup  |  Limes  |  Tequila  |  Triple Sec  |  Sugar  |  Bottled lime juice {optional}

 

Here’s what I love about living in a small town:

I don’t have a fancy margarita pitcher set, but when I asked around it didn’t take long for a new friend to track one down for me. I borrowed this set from a member of the community {who I’ve still never met!}. Small town folks are kind, generous, and always willing to lend it if they have it.

Here’s the struggle of living in a small town:

Our access to fresh produce is limited. It turns out I didn’t buy enough limes during my weekly shopping trip. When I visited our local store limes were a no-go, and I wasn’t going to drive 40 miles for 3 limes. Fortunately, they did have a few bottles of 100% lime juice. It helped me fill the void. That’s why I have bottled lime juice in the ingredient list. I highly recommend fresh squeezed lime – there’s just something about a fresh squeezed lime that the bottle doesn’t have. However, bottled lime juice will do in a pinch, especially if limes are out of season in your neck of the woods.

As I mentioned in my recipe for Prickly Pear Jelly & Jam, I used Hank Shaw’s recipe for Prickly Pear Syrup. If you’re already processing prickly pears add this syrup to your to-do list! It’s super simple {like four ingredients simple!}, and it stores for a long time in the refrigerator.

If you don’t have access to prickly pear, but you can’t resist the vibrant pink hues and unique flavors of these margaritas, you can actually buy prickly pear syrup on Amazon. Who knew?


Sweet-and-Sour Mix

You can purchase a bottle of sweet and sour at most grocery stores, but I’m going to challenge you to make your own. It’s really, really simple, and doesn’t have that icky-sweetness that some bottles of sweet-and-sour can have.

 

Step 1 ~ 5 minutes

Measure out 1 c sugar and 1 c water.

Combine the sugar and water together in a medium saucepan. Stir to dissolve.

Without boiling, heat the sugar water just until the sugar dissolves completely.

 

Step 2 ~ 5 minutes

While the sugar water is cooling, slice at least 8 limes in half. I had six limes since I reserved one lime for wedges for the finished margaritas.

Squeeze the juice of each lime into a measuring cup. One lime will produce roughly ¼ c lime juice, depending on the size and ripeness of the lime.

I hand squeezed my limes, but there are fancy juicers that you can use if you want.


My 6 limes resulted in almost 1¼ c lime juice.

The sweet-and-sour needs 2 c lime juice, so I made up the difference with the bottled lime juice.

 

Step 3 ~ 2 minutes

Pour the lime juice into the slightly cooled sugar water and stir to combine thoroughly.

There will be some pulp floating on the top, but we’ll skim that off later.

Transfer the sweet-and-sour to a large measuring cup.

We need four cups of sweet-and-sour. Because the sugar reduces in volume when dissolved, this brought me to 3½ c sweet-and-sour. Add enough water to yield 4 c.

Refrigerate the sweet-and-sour mix.

 

Prickly Pear Margaritas

Now it’s time to mix up the margaritas!

 

Step 1 ~ 2 minutes

Into a large pitcher {at least 2 quarts}, pour the sweet-and-sour mix through a metal strainer.

Discard any pulp.

 

Step 2 ~ 2 minutes

Add 10 ounces {1¼ c} prickly pear syrup to the pitcher.

Traditionally individual margaritas should be shaken. When preparing a large pitcher for a party, shaking may not be an option. Instead you can use a metal whisk to really blend the mix together.

 

Step 3 ~ 2 minutes

Now the “whoohoo!” I opted for El Charro Silver tequila, and I’m very happy with my choice. The tequila was smooth and tasty, but the price was middle of the road.

Measure out 15 ounces of tequila. It may be tempting to just bump it up to an even 2 c, but trust me that 15 ounces is the perfect amount of whoohoo for this pitcher of margaritas.

Each ounce is a shot. Remember that when you’re serving your guests. Don’t overdo it.

Next add 5 ounces of triple sec to the pitcher.

Whisk the tequila and triple sec into the prickly lime mix, and your margaritas are ready to serve!

 

A few words of wisdom

Liquor tends to sink to the bottom in mixed drinks. If you’re preparing your margaritas in advance of your party be sure to give them a good whisk before serving them to your guests. You may also want to keep the whisk handy to stir the pitcher before guests refill their glasses.

 

Prepare the Serving Station

A good margarita is served with salt on the rim and a lime wedge on the side. Offer your guests a plate of lime juice and a plate of margarita salt to dip the rim of their glass in before pouring their margarita over ice. You can also offer a plate of coarse sugar if you prefer.

Serve these Prickly Pear Margaritas with your favorite TexMex appetizers or meal. See my list of suggested appetizers below.

 

Make It A Single

Don’t need a whole pitcher of margaritas? Use these increments to make the Perfect Prickly Pear Margarita for One!

Combine the follow ingredients in a shaker:

  • 1½ ounces tequila
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce prickly pear syrup
  • 3 ounces sweet-and-sour

{Note:  a standard shot glass is 1 ounce, so you can use a shot glass to measure these ingredients.}

Shake the ingredients and pour into a salted glass over ice.

Aren’t they beautiful? The perfect refreshment for your next girls’ night, bbq, or date night in! Just be sure to drink responsibly and always designate a driver because I love ya!

What’s your favorite flavor for kicking up a margarita? Leave us a comment below!

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