Love and Olive Oil
The Prickly Lady Cocktail

The Prickly Lady Cocktail

The Prickly Lady (Mezcal and Prickly Pear Cocktail)

Meet the prickly lady: smoky mezcal, prickly pear juice, ginger liqueur, lime juice, and a pinch of powdered sugar.

And let me just say that color? That brilliant, shocking fuchsia? It’s entirely au-naturale. I mean, it makes my Blueberry Margaritas seem downright dull. Just one of the reasons I am having a moment with prickly pear.

I *may* have gone a bit overboard when I discovered a bin of prickly pears at a local international market. For about $3 I picked up a bag full of already de-prickled pears, which, as I’ve learned in my research, is one of the trickiest parts of prickly pear preparation (it seems the best way to remove the prickles is to burn them off with a torch, just FYI if you plan on going out and harvesting your own).

The Prickly Lady cocktail recipe with prickly pear juice, mezcal, ginger, and lime.

Mezcal is to tequila what scotch is to whiskey: a smoky version of its common cousin. While tequila is always (by law) made with blue agave, mezcal can be made from one of upwards of 30 different varieties of the same plant.

Mezcal tends to be more expensive than tequila, as the traditional process of producing it is more time-consuming and less industrialized (hence the lack of cheap or bottom-shelf mezcals on the market… it simply hasn’t been mass-produced in the way that tequila has). It’s because of this that each bottle carries a unique flavor and character, reflective of the producer and the type of agave and the terroir of the region in which it was made: not so different from wine in that respect.

Be prepared to spend $35-$40 for the ‘cheap’ mezcal (we used Del Maguey “Vida”, which is a nice entry-level mezcal with a clean smoke flavor) though you can certainly spend way more than that if you’re so inclined.

The Prickly Lady cocktail recipe with prickly pear juice, mezcal, ginger, and lime.

Don’t let the color fool you, the smokiness of the mezcal adds a surprising masculinity to what, on the surface, looks like an overly fruity, girly cocktail. Once you take a sip you’ll realize it’s anything but: sweet and smoky and fierce.

Real men drink pink.

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit for fresh prickly pear juice

Making your own prickly pear juice is actually quite easy, assuming you can get your hands on some fresh cactus pears. Simply chop them into chunks and boil with water (about 1 cup per 1 pound of fruit). Boil for about 15 minutes or until pears are softened. Then either run them through a food mill (if you have one) or press the pulp through a fine mesh sieve. If you prefer a clearer juice, strain it again through a coffee filter or a few layers of cheesecloth set inside a fine mesh sieve.

If you are using a ready-made prickly pear syrup instead of pure unsweetened prickly pear juice, simply omit the powdered sugar (or at least taste it first and decide if you want it sweeter or not).

The Prickly Lady (Mezcal and Prickly Pear Cocktail)

Apparently the prickly pear cactus grows naturally here in Tennessee, as well as many other areas of the country. Note to self: find a patch and go to town. I can just imagine the possibilities… prickly pear jam, prickly pear wine, prickly pear syrup, prickly pear sorbet…

The Prickly Lady cocktail recipe with prickly pear juice, mezcal, ginger, and lime.



The Prickly Lady Cocktail

This gorgeous bright pink cocktail is made with smoky mezcal, prickly pear juice, ginger liqueur, lime juice, and a pinch of powdered sugar.

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  • 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) mezcal
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
  • 2 tablespoons prickly pear juice*
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • ice
  • lime slice (optional, for garnish)


  1. In a pitcher or cocktail shaker, combine mezcal, ginger liqueur, prickly pear juice, lime juice, and sugar and stir to combine.
  2. Pour over ice and serve, garnished with a lime slice if desired.

*If using prickly pear syrup, omit the powdered sugar and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of syrup to taste (more/less depending on how sweet you want the drink to be)

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  1. A friend made this for me! So fantastic. I can’t get over the color! Thanks for the recipe. It’s a keeper, and I look forward to trying some of your other ones. 

  2. I’m so intrigued by mezcal now, I want to get my hands on a bottle! I love a good prickly pear margarita, and am ready for more!

  3. This looks so good!

  4. Omg, this color is insane! I must acquire some prickly pears immediately. Gorgeous! :)

  5. What a stunning cocktail! The color is just exquisite and I bet the taste is amazing! As you said, it has some fiercness to it from the smoky mezcal. I would love this!

  6. I’ve had some tasty prickly pear margaritas in Sedona, but this cocktail sounds even better.  Hoping I can get my hands on some prickly pears here in Indy.  I also love those glasses.  Where did you find them?

  7. This is just gorgeous Lindsey! I can imagine the surprise smoky notes after sippin on this for the first time. When I lived in Texas, we used to eat prickly pear in Mexican food, but not the pear…. just the green parts. And, I’ve never prepped my own, rather, I left that up to the experts. But now I’ll be on the look out for the pear. I just love this cocktail you created!  Thank you my dear!  

  8. Don’t forget Prickly Pear Margaritas! One of these days I’ll get you to visit San Antonio (maybe with Julie too?!) and we will go to La Gloria, which has the best food, and phenomenal prickly pear margaritas. You can also make a simple prickly pear syrup that makes fantastic snow cones. But for some reason when it gets boiled into a simple syrup, it turns a brownish pink, not quite so impressive. Still, tastes *amazing*. I’m a huge, huge fan of prickly pear fruit, or as they’re called in Spanish, “tuna”. Prickly Pear Cactii are ubiquitous in south Texas. I could take you two hundred feet from my front door and we’d have an afternoon picking more fruits than you could ever imagine. 

    • Color me jealous.

      Also, I didn’t think “Tuna Cocktail” sounded quite as appetizing. :) haha.

    • I second this! There is a Mexican restaurant that serves Prickly Pear Margaritas here and they are SO fab. With that being said, I’m not going to kick Prickly Pear ANYTHING out of bed. So gorgeous and yummy!

  9. I associate prickly pear with arizona – how unexpected that they can grow in TN!?! This cocktail is pretty as a picture and I bet it tastes just as good!

  10. So cool! Such a unique cocktail! Would have never thought to make one with prickly pears. In fact, I think I’ve never even had a prickly pear, oops! 

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