Picante Amante: A Prickly Pear Margarita - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Picante Amante: A Prickly Pear Margarita

margaritas in Santa Barbara: Dusk Bar

A sweet and spicy refresher that will win over every type of Margarita fan.

John Hardin, beverage director of Santa Barbara’s Dusk Bar, touts this Prickly Pear Margarita as “everything a cocktail enthusiast could ask for in a Margarita,” and it will appeal to classic Marg fans as well as those who love a savory and sweet Margarita. A prickly pear cordial sweetens the mix while a bit of habanero spice and pink peppercorn salt gives it a savory kick.

Since Hardin prefers to make cocktail ingredients from scratch, this recipe includes specs for the cordial, habanero tincture, and peppercorn salt. But for those short on time, he also offers store-bought alternatives.


  • 1 1/2 oz. blanco tequila (Dusk Bar uses Don Fulano or Mijenta)
  • 1/2 oz. mezcal (Dusk uses Bozal Ensamble or Amaras Verde)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. prickly pear cordial (or Liquid Alchemist or Real)
  • 3 dashes habanero bitters (or Scrappy's firewater habanero tincture)
  • Tools:shaker, strainer
  • Glass:double old fashioned
  • Garnish:peppercorn salt rim, lime wedge


Add all of the ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice into a glass rimmed with peppercorn salt. Garnish.

Prickly Pear CordialAdd 2 cups of white sugar to a pot. Muddle the peels of 5 limes until aroma is present and the sugar is well saturated. Add one can of Perfect Puree prickly pear and 2 oz. of fresh lime juice. Heat on low and stir until sugar is dissolved. This will keep in the refrigerator for three weeks.

NoteThe trick to this syrup is you only want the heat present to dissolve the sugar into the mixture. You do not want to overheat/cook, as it will change the flavor.

Habanero TinctureAdd 6 roughly chopped habaneros to 1 cup of vodka. Let the mixture sit for a minimum of 10 days and then strain out the peppers. The longer you let the peppers sit, the more flavor and spice you will get in this tincture. This will keep indefinitely.

Pink Peppercorn SaltCombine equal parts of kosher salt and pink peppercorns in a blender and blend until fully incorporated.

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