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Four Drinks That Prove Cactus Makes For A Delicious Cocktail Component

Cactus cocktail

Can you imagine having cactus as a key ingredient in a cocktail? Believe it or not, many cocktails include prickly cacti in their composition. 

In Mexico and the American Southwest, prickly pear cactus has been considered edible for ages. The paddles of the cactus are edible and used in Mexican cuisine. During summer, the cactus bears fruits that are vibrantly coloured, sweet, and juicy with a consistency like kiwi. The fruits' flavour compliments the profile of agave spirits and rhum agricole (sugarcane-based rum).

1. La Capirucha

Prickly pears also known as xoconostles give an earthy sweetness and electric pink colour to this smoky cocktail.

Ingredients

For the prickly pear syrup:

6 ripe, Red Prickly Pears
240 gms Sugar
240 gms Water
1 Cinnamon stick
6 Allspice berries

For the cocktail:

60 ml Joven mezcal (young mezcal)
20 ml Prickly pear syrup
20 ml Fresh lime juice
Sal de Gusano (worm salt), for rimming

Method

For the prickly pear syrup:

Remove the skin of the prickly pear cacti and de-seed them. Dice and put them in a saucepan along with the rest of the ingredients. Let the content simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Fine strain using a chinois or cheesecloth. Bottle the syrup and refrigerate. The syrup lasts for around two weeks.

For the cocktail:

Take a plate and add worm salt in it. Sink the Old Fashioned glass upside down so that its rim is lined with salt. Now, take a shaker with ice and add all the ingredients toin it. Shake well and then strain into the Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. 

2. Hearts And Minds

This cocktail combines rhum agricole with prickly pear cactus puree. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients

45 ml Rhum agricole
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Prickly pear puree
7 ml Rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar :1 part water)
7 ml Fernet 
30 ml Sparkling wine

Method

Take a shaker with ice and add rhum agricole, lemon, purée and syrup. Strain into a chilled flute. Top with sparkling wine. Float the Fernet on top of the wine using the back of a bar spoon. 

Cactus cocktail

3. The Prickly Pear Cocktail

This cocktail uses prickly pear fruit with a mezcal infused with the cactus paddle (also called nopales). 

Ingredients

For the Habanero tincture:

10 Habanero pepper, diced
500 ml Overproof vodka

For the cocktail

60 ml Nopales-infused mezcal
20 ml Fresh prickly pear juice
20 ml Fresh lime juice
15 ml Agave nectar
15 ml Gentian amaro
3-4 dashes of Habanero tincture
Nopales slice, for garnish

Method

For the Habanero tincture:

Soak the peppers in the vodka in an airtight container until the desired spice level is achieved. Strain the liquid and bottle it for use.

For the cocktail:

Take a shaker with ice and add all the ingredients in it. Shake well and strain to a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with nopales slice.

Cactus cocktail

4. Mezcali Me Banana

This cocktail has the earthy tones of an agave spirit and creamy textured notes from the fruits.

Ingredients

For the Serrano-Habanero salt

1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and diced
1 Habanero pepper, deseeded and diced
100 gms Salt

For the cocktail

45 ml Mezcal
30 ml Fresh grapefruit juice
30 ml Fresh lime juice
15 ml Prickly pear purée
7 ml Light agave nectar
7 ml Banana liqueur 
Serrano-habanero salt, for rimming 
Charred rosemary sprig, for garnish

Method

For the Serrano-Habanero salt

Take a food processor, add the peppers and salt and pulse the ingredients. Spread the paste on a baking sheet and dry in a 135-degree oven for 1.5 hours. Once the paste is dried, re-pulse it in the food processor or spice grinder to granulate the salt.

For the cocktail

Prepare a rocks glass by rubbing the rim with fresh lime, then dip the rim into a dish filled with serrano-habanero salt, shaking to discard excess; fill the glass with ice. Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake to chill. Strain into the prepared glass, then garnish.

While it's great to learn about alcoholic beverages and alcohol-infused foods, it is important to also consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.

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