It has recently come to my attention that there are people out there who decide to give their liver a little break, from alcohol, during the month of January. I suppose you could call this a cleanse of sorts. Who am I to cast aspersions on these people. In a way, I guess, I admire them (I’m not sure what way that is…but hey, let’s go with it for now.) So here’s a fun way to use a new fruit, the prickly pear, in your new year’s “cleanse.”
I thought I would try my hand at creating a mocktail recipe that would be both appetizing and pretty. Is there really any point to putting something in your mouth that doesn’t taste or look good (wow…that statement could go in a couple of different directions now couldn’t it)? I think not. Well, I guess in some instances we do put things in our mouths that don’t meet those requirements, but I suppose it’s for the greater good now isn’t it?
I’ve been really wanting to try and do something with prickly pears. You may have seen these at the grocery store. They grow on cacti and are edible. They sort of taste like a combination of melon and cucumbers. But the really cool thing about them is the color. They are a stunning shade of magenta.
I’ve come across a prickly pear recipe, or two, but wasn’t inclined to buy a bunch of them to make something like jelly or some other involved project. I really only wanted to get a couple of them to see what they were like. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on 2 from Melissa’s Produce. That quantity was something I could wrap my head around and then concoct some kind of manageable prickly pear recipe.
Then I got a phone call from one of my friends who was in need of some party drink recipes. Apparently she’s throwing a birthday party for a teenage girl, but there will be adults there. Which meant she wanted a mocktail recipe for the kiddos and an alcohol laden drink for the adults (since they would be around a group of 30 teenage girls). I needed a drink just hearing about a party with that many teenage girls. So I asked her if she wanted one drink for the girls and a different one for the adults or just one drink that she could make up for both. She, of course, chose the latter since she was chin deep in all the other peculiarities of the young lady’s soiree.
I decided that making a mojito mocktail recipe could be the perfect solution to the party drink recipes dilemma. One version for the girls and another for the adults. (The suggestion of mojito jello shots came up, but was quickly shot down.) Of course, keeping the two cocktails distinguishable was another matter entirely. I suggested that the girls get one type of glass and the adults get another. But to help keep a tightly run ship…the girls would have lots of their glass style available, but the adults would have a nearly exact number of glasses. You know how sneaky teenage girls can be.
We did a test run of the prickly pear mojito and mocktail mojito and both were met with high approval. In fact, one of the things that the girls like the most was the intense color. It seems that Ms. Birthday Girl is a HUGE fan of all things pink. (I know, what a shock.)
It’s really easy to prepare these in bulk too. So you can have the mocktail recipe version, as well as the cocktail version ready at a moments notice. Anything to help make a party easier is a bonus.
The perfect storm.
Recipe: Mocktail Recipe: The Prickly Pear Mojito
- 16 Mint Leaves
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 8 Ounces Sparkling Water (could also use club soda)
- 8 Teaspoons Sugar (divided)
- 3 Tablespoons Prickly Pear Juice (divided)
- Optional Ingredient: 3 Ounces White Rum (divided)
- Add 8 mint leaves to each glass, then add in 4 teaspoons of sugar and juice from half of the lime to each glass. Muddle the mint leaves.
- Add half of the prickly pear juice to each glass and give it a good stir.
- Fill each glass with crushed ice.
- For the non-mocktail, this is where you would add half of the rum to each glass.
- Top off the glasses with sparkling water.
- Garnish with a sugar cane stick.
Stir the drink to mix the heavier ingredients at the bottom with the ice and water at the top.
Getting the juice from the prickly pears.
Cut both ends off of the fruit, then gently cut a slit the length of the pear. You should cut through the thick skin. Carefully use your knife to help you peel off the skin. It may peel off in one piece or it may come off in several pieces. Cut the fruit into chunks and then place them into a blender or food processor. Buzz the fruit until it’s been pureed. Pour the puree into a fine mesh strainer and push it back and forth to separate the juice from the seeds. My 2 fruits yielded more than 1/2 a cup of juice.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
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