Refreshing, fruity and unique, this Prickly Pear Hard Cider Cocktail with Cilantro and Pomelo tastes as yummy and bright as it looks.
From the semitropical pomelo to the desert loving cactus to the deciduous apple, this recipe is a creative, seasonal mash-up that combines produce from various American climates.
I have an article coming out in Eastern Home and Travel Magazine in November on American hard cider. In preparing for the article, I trekked all over Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia tasting hard ciders (I have such a hard job ;-)). The quality and variety of offerings available is impressive, so check out the article for suggestions on holiday meal pairings.
I’ve always lived in apple country, so its super exciting that hard cider has been making a comeback, especially fine crafted dry ciders. To celebrate cider’s resurgence I’m going to be posting a series of holiday hard cider cocktail recipes here on Vintage Kitty. So let’s start with this super fun Prickly Pear Hard Cider Cocktail that uses one of the coolest fruits I’ve ever eaten, the prickly pear.
Prickly pears are nothing like pears, so not sure where they got the pear portion of the name, but as someone who has picked them straight from a cactus, I can promise you they are prickly! However, if you get them in the grocery store, the spines are removed (isn’t that nice of them?). Inside, prickly pears have lots of tiny seeds, so its difficult to eat the flesh, but they are great for sauces, syrups and COCKTAILS!
Prickly pears are sweet, yet mild and bright magenta on the inside. So, I knew the prickly pear color would be beautiful in a hard cider cocktail, a bit like a Kir Royale. But just hard cider and prickly pear would be way too sweet.
A pomelo is a very large citrus fruit that tastes like a mild grapefruit, so its acidity counterbalances the sweetness of the prickly pear in this cocktail. There are different varieties, some sweeter, some more tart, some with pink flesh, some with yellow. If you can, get the pink because it won’t water down the color of the prickly pear.
The cilantro adds an herby south-western flair. It has a slightly soapy flavor that is perfect with the prickly pear.
Then you bring in the party with the bubbly hard cider! Many ciders are still (non-sparkling) which would be fine, but there is always something more merry about bubbles!
Bright red, thirst-quenching, sweet and tangy… SO GOOD!
This Prickly Pear Hard Cider Cocktail is perfect to pair with Mexican or Southwestern food, but its also a bit like a punch, so its versatile. And see how festive it looks? Just in time for the holiday season which is upon us (whether we are ready or not). Let’s get this party started!
- 2 TBSP chopped pomelo
- 3 inch one-eigth slices prickly pear
- 2 tsp organic sugar
- 10 leaves cilantro
- 3-4 oz hard cider divided
- Extra cilantro and fruit for garnish optional
In a cocktail shaker, combine pomelo, prickly pear, sugar, cilantro and 1 oz of hard cider.
Muddle until mixture is a fine puree and the sugar has dissolved.
Strain into a glass and top with another 2 to 3 ounces of hard cider.
Garnish if desired.