This piece originally appeared on Needsupply.com.
Like Brussels sprouts, the oft misunderstood prickly pair is best just after autumn’s first frost. The fruit is rather unappetizingly called a tuna in Spanish, but its juice is smooth, subdued and rich and lends a brilliant colour to dishes and cocktails. Santa Fe’s prickly pear margaritas are something of a legend—they sparkle on late summer tables like a western version of Venice’s Aperol Spritz. Here we use this versatile fruit to riff on a decidedly more autumn-appropriate cocktail, the classic G&T.
What you’ll need (makes 6)
- Quality gin—we recommend Hendricks, Boodles or Tanqueray for their subdued smoothness
- Good tonic water
- 4 firm, bright purple prickly pears
- Fresh thyme
- Paring knife
For an earthier drink, replace agave with a Juniper berry-infused simple syrup. Add 3-4 juniper berries to a 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water and bring to boil. Discard juniper berries and allow syrup to cool.
Using gloves and sharp paring knife, skin prickly pears ensuring that all traces of of spines are removed. Blend the fruit until close to liquefied and then push through a fine sieve to capture seeds and pulp. Combine juice and agave or simple syrup over ice, followed by chilled tonic. Add gin of choice and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.