The simply named Prickly Pear cocktail utilizes the cactus fruit’s electric color and natural sweetness to complement the smoky, earthy flavors of mezcal that’s been infused with nopales—cactus paddle. Both cactus paddles and prickly pear fruits can be found at your local Mexican market (and often Whole Foods).
2 oz. nopales-infused mezcal
¾ oz. fresh prickly pear juice
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar
½ oz. gentian amaro
3-4 dashes of habanero tincture
Tools: shaker, strainer
Garnish: nopales slice
Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into glass over fresh ice and garnish.
Nopales-infused mezcal: Clean and shave off the spines of the nopales paddles but keep the skin on. Cut the nopales and place in jar with mezcal and allow to infuse for at least 1 week, using about 6 to 8 nopales per liter of mezcal. Strain prior to using.
Prickly pear juice: If buying prickly pear fruit from the store, the small spines may already be removed. If not, or if picking the fruit yourself, be sure to handle them with gloves and either burn the spines off over a gas burner using tongs, or blanch the fruit in boiling water to dissolve them. Juice the fruit in a juicer, or slice it open and scoop out the inner flesh, adding to a blender or food processor to purée, then strain through a seive.
Habanero tincture: Combine 10 diced habanero peppers with 500 mL over-proof vodka and soak until desired spice level is achieved. Strain and bottle for use.
Jacob Racusin, The Snug, San Francisco
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