Enter the cocktail. I whipped up something with the few bits and bobs that we have ’round the house. I know, I have prickly pears in my house. In January. Hush.
Because of this cocktail, I’ve been inspired again to dive into some typically Mexican edibles, primarily all things cactus. Nopales, as they’re called, are eaten with great relish despite, but even perhaps because of, their copious amounts of mucilage. They’ll remind you of okra with all that goo. But that goo is great for you. It’s actually soluble fiber. So that’s why those Mexican grandmas would tell you it’s good for your digestion.
Perhaps I’m giving you a bit too much information.
The prickly pear is the fruit from those cactus. The pads are fabulous in salads (check in tomorrow for a recipe for that), the pears are the juicy fruit that you can make lots of lovely things from, like juices and cocktails and vinaigrettes. Right now, just about everywhere you find them (and you might in your local Mexican markets), they’ll be woefully under ripe, but that just means that they’re super tart. And full of pectin if you care to make a jam or two.
I think the tartness is pretty fantastic in a cocktail, balanced with a bit of clementine and brown sugar.
Prickly Pear Rum Punch, makes two
3 oz rum
3 oz prickly pear simple syrup*
4 shakes of bitters
Zest from clementine, sprigs of coriander/cilantro, thin slices of prickly pear
In a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, add the rum, syrup and bitters. Shake well, pour into two martini glasses filled with more crushed ice. Garnish with clementine zest, a sprig of coriander, a slice of prickly pear.
*For the simple syrup combine a cup of water, a cup of brown sugar, juice from a lime, two under ripe prickly pears peeled and diced, a thumb-sized piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped, a few allspice berries. Simmer all together, 15 minutes or so to really reduce it a bit. Strain it and chill over a bowl of ice, if you want something quick; chill in the fridge if you can wait a bit.
Playlist included El Canelo by Los Lobos.