Although Labor Day marks the demarcation line between summer and fall, I’m not quite ready to embrace heavier cocktails. Much and all as I love all those fruity and frivolous summer libations, I’m starting to crave something a little more complex but not overly heavy – especially since the weather around here is still the 80’s and looks to stay that way for another month or so. Which makes finding the answer to that critical question of “what cocktail do I want”? challenging to answer. Fortunately, I have got a fabulous answer to that question. This Cactus Pear Daiquiri.
Pretty isn’t it?? You’re probably thinking “ummm weren’t you just saying something about fruity and frivolous?” Yessss….. but don’t let the appearance of this Cactus Rose Daiquiri fool you because, you know”appearances can be deceiving”.
That luscious berry red color is not from fruity, juicy berries but from cactus pear or tunas, the fruit of nopales cactus. I was recently gifted with a bag of these from the lovely people behind Melissa’s Produce. Upon opening the bag, I had my answer – a Cactus Pear Daiquiri.
Over the last few years mixologists have been happily playing with this somewhat obscure fruit. Sure, given the color and novelty factor it’s an obvious choice, but once you taste this fruit you’ll see why so many mixologists are including it in their summer/early fall cocktail menus.
Speaking of which, If you’ve come across cactus pear juice as a cocktail ingredient, it’s generally featured in either a margarita or a martini. After sampling the juice – which tastes similar to watermelon, but less sweet with definite cucumber and floral notes, well I just couldn’t see pairing tequila or vodka with it. Nope, to my way of thinking it needed that little bit of sweetness from a white rum.
Starting with the basic recipe for a daiquiri, I “”jiggered” around with a few versions and finally settled on this one – white rum, cactus pear juice, lime juice, simple syrup with a little elderflower liqueur thrown in to complement those floral notes and tie everything together. I have to say, I was quite happy with it. Or , to quote my own personal taste tester…. “whoa, this is reeeeaally good – it’s exactly the cocktail I wanted!”
- 2 oz. white rum
- 1 oz. cactus pear juice
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- ¼ oz. simple syrup
- ¼ oz. elderflower liqueur
- 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
- To make the cactus pear juice. Scoop the flesh from the cactus pears and place into a blender or food processor. Puree and then strain through a small mesh strainer into a measuring cup. 1 cactus pear yields about 1½ oz. of juice.
- For the Cockail:
- Combine the rum, cactus pear juice, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, elderflower liqueur and bitters into an ice filled cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 30 - 45 seconds until the shaker is frosty. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.