Drink It – A Prickly Pear Paloma

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Since my kids started school last week, I have tried to make it a point to start exercising again. So to start getting myself moving again, I have begun to take a walk in the morning after drop off before it gets to hot. On my walk this week I stumbled upon a huge cactus filled with ripe prickly pears and just had to collect a few to make into a prickly pear syrup. I have had prickly pear soda and margaritas before, but never attempted making my own simple syrup with them. Despite their pricks, It wasn’t nearly as difficult to work with them as I would have thought, and the resulting syrup was the perfect addition to my prickly pear Paloma cocktail that I will be enjoying all Labor Day weekend. 

If you have never heard of a Paloma before, it is akin to a margarita on the rocks, but with grapefruit and soda and it is ever so tasty! And the addition of the sweet as candy (it tastes like a combo of bubble gum, watermelon, and cotton candy) prickly pear syrup, well it just takes it over the top! 

Prickly Pear Paloma

  • Kosher salt (for the rim)
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit soda (like Izze grapefruit)
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons prickly pear syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup tequila or Mezcal
  • Ice (I used frozen grapefruit juice in a square ice mold instead)
For the cocktail, rub a slice of grapefruit on the rim of a cocktail glass and dip into the salt. Then add your ice cube, prickly pear syrup, tequila, lime juice, and top with the grapefruit soda. Feel free to add a splash of fresh grapefruit juice as well. Then enjoy!

Prickly Pear Syrup
  • 12 large prickly pears
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Enough water to cover the prickly pears in a pot
Use a fork to pierce the prickly pears and hold them over a flame (I used my gas stove top but you can also use a grill) to burn off the pricks. Then cut the fruit into chunks and place in a quart pot with enough water to just cover the fruit. Boil until the fruit starts to soften and the colors run into the water. Remove from the heat and puree in a blender then strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Return the liquid (it should be around 4 cups) to a clean pot and add 2 cups of sugar. Heat and stir until the sugar just dissolves and then pour into a glass jar for storage. It will last in your fridge for up to 1 month. 
I love the ombre effect the prickly pear and grapefruit soda make in the glass, and the taste is pure summertime bliss. Sweet, tart, and salty. What more could you ask for? Cheers!

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