Prickly pear is Arizona’s THING just like Maine has their lobster, Philly has their cheesesteaks, and Wisconsin has their curds. The valley of the sun has been blessed with little pink gems that grow like wildflowers. If you live here in Phoenix, September is the month when you can’t miss them in the wild. If you know us at Iconic Cocktail, we produce our best selling mixer, Prickly Pear Sour year round to capture a taste of Arizona. We’re here to tell you all about the infamous prickly pear.
So...what in the heck is a prickly pear anyway? What does it taste like? Why does Arizona love it so much? Part of a very large cactus family, Opuntia is the genus of cacti that is identified by its fruit. Their large paddles have a sparse amount of needles compared to some of its relatives like the Golden Barrel or Saguaro. The Prickly Pear Cactus is best known for those brightly colored tunas that group together on the edge of the paddles.
If their prickly exterior wasn’t enough reason to pluck these little guys and eat them directly off a cactus, maybe this description will shine light on why you see prickly pear in sweet treats like jams & jellies, candies, and margaritas.
Here’s how to describe the taste of prickly pear to anyone who doesn’t live in Arizona.
- A slightly under ripe strawberry with a tart brightness
- It fibrous like a pineapple with seeds like a raspberry
- Mineral forward with earthy undertones, like a dry red wine
- Uniquely sweet but you definitely need to add something to this.
With stain-worthy juice, prickly pear nectar can go a long way. Just a drop of this juice will change the color of any liquid. Not to throw shade on other products out there, you might notice other additives on the label of prickly pear syrups like beet juice or red dyes. This is because they are fooling you into thinking you are tasting prickly pear when you’re really not.
We like to think at Iconic, we’ve honored everything that makes this ingredient special with our best selling mixer, Prickly Pear Sour. Made with only three ingredients (a whole lotta prickly pear, fresh lemon, and pure cane sugar), you can trust that you are tasting real prickly pear unlike the competition out there. With over 50 five star reviews, Prickly Pear Sour has become our best selling mixer. This prickly pear syrup is the only one you need if you’re craving a prickly pear cocktail like the notorious prickly pear margarita, a prickly pear whiskey sour, a prickly pear daiquiri, or a simple prickly pear soda.
If you’re looking for a fresh tasting prickly pear syrup for your next craft cocktail, you can definitely trust Iconic Prickly Pear Sour.
Wanna know our secrets? Here’s how we make it:
- It starts with freshly harvested prickly pears that we reserve from Cactus Kelly, our expert forager in the valley.
- During the prickly pear season (September) we harvest buckets and buckets and buckets of the fruit.
- We freeze them for a few reasons:
- First and foremost, to offer this flavor year round
- After the fruit is frozen and then defrosted, they break down in a way for optimal juice (years of experience working with this ingredient)
- Defrosted prickly pears are juiced in a cold-pressed juicer, yielding in insanely vibrant juice (fun fact: it changes base on the season, learn more here)
- Here’s another cool thing about our process! We reserve the remnants of the juiced prickly pear and Cactus Kelly dries the flesh to make a prickly pear powder!
- We add this juice to a lemon sour base which is made with lemon zest, lemon juice, and pure cane sugar.
- It comes up to temperature and we’re able hot-fill bottle the liquid pink gold
- Once they are cooled, we label and stamp every bottle
- They are ready to be shipped to you anywhere you make them for a fresh taste of Arizona!
Ship yourself a bottle of Prickly Pear Sour or send a bottle to a friend!
Shop Prickly Pear Sour online and send a bottle to yourself or a friend! Large bottles of Prickly Pear Sour are $22 and they make about 17-32 cocktails. A Mini bottle is $10 and makes 4-8 cocktails. You can save $10 when you get a MEGA PACK (four large bottles, use promo code MEGAPACK at check out) or you can build a Mini Mixer Pack!
If you send a bottle to anyone who doesn't live in Arizona, be sure to add a recipe card and a gift message at check out.