The secret to the simplest and most spectacular pool-party-stopping margarita is: The Big Tuna.
The fruits of the prickly pear, aka the tunas, are magical little things. They can be eaten raw, pickled, preserved as jelly, or fermented into wine. The tough, spiny exterior houses a wealth of health-boosting vitamins and nutrients, including antioxidants that decrease inflammation and bad cholesterol, aid in digestion, and even reduce body fat. And, it turns out, all that goodness is surprisingly easy to access if you just soak it for a couple of days in a little tequila.
You’ll find tunas by the bin-full at area grocery stores like Fiesta and El Rio Grande. Sometimes they are fuchsia pink on the outside, with a fleshy center that’s an even deeper shade of cherry red. Other times you’ll find the lime green variety, with a pale, plantain-yellow interior. Whatever’s available, don’t fret. They are all delicious.
At this stage, most of the spines have been removed for your benefit, but go ahead and put a plastic bag over your hand to make your picks. You’ll want a little give in the flesh; overripe is just fine for infusing purposes. And there’s no need to peel. Just chop them into chunks, place them in a jar, and cover with your choice of tequila. Wait a couple of days, strain out the tuna chunks, and then add some lime juice, agave syrup, and blood orange liqueur (I use Solerno). Make plenty of extra; you can store the pre-mixed cocktails in the freezer for last-minute entertaining. When you’re ready to serve, it will be just the right amount of slushy.
This video made in my kitchen will give you the details. I usually don’t serve them in my great-grandmother’s green glass goblets, even though they make for a pretty presentation. I prefer pouring the margs over plenty of ice and topping with a splash of Topo Chico. If you’re entertaining, set out a glass pitcher filled with the pink elixir, a bucket of ice, a bowl of limes, and some chilled Topo so your guests can help themselves. That way, you don’t even have to get out of the pool.
For more recipes from the D Hand Made Cookbook, order it here.