Fresh Prickly Pear Martini

This Fresh Prickly Pear Martini features fresh prickly pear pulp, gin, dry Lillet Rouge, and orange bitters. Not to be confused with sweet vodka cocktails served in martini glasses, dry martini lovers (like me!) will enjoy its botanical, somewhat earthy flavor. The brilliant hue of the prickly pear pulp certainly makes a statement. This one is a beauty!

2 martini glasses with fresh prickly pear martinis and a long orange twist.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Fresh Prickly Pear Pulp and Dry Martinis

Before I was even “legal,” my preferred cocktail was a “dry” or “dirty” martini… MADE WITH GIN NOT VODKA! 😆 I laugh now at my desire to look sophisticated at the disco with my colleagues from Arthur Murray Dance Studio even though I was an under-age drinker. Truth be told, though, I did love the cocktail! I have never been one for those cloyingly sweet cocktails that mask the flavors of the actual spirit.

When I started playing around with prickly pears this summer, I knew I wanted to do a cocktail. I ordered some prickly pear syrup from Amazon to see how sweet it was. The syrup was not going to provide the prickly pear flavor (or color) I was looking for without making it way too sweet. I decided that prickly pear pulp might be a better option.

My local Latino foods market always has red prickly pears, so I set about learning to break them down. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was! The pulp freezes well, so I plan to do about twice as many next time. I did try the prickly pear pulp with Peruvian pisco. Pisco cocktails are a favorite at Andersen casa. It didn’t really “float my boat.”

I tried gin and Campari with the prickly pear, and the Campari masked the flavor of the fruit. I finally landed on this combination of fruit pulp, gin, and Lillet Rouge. Lillet Rouge is a classic aperitif made from primarily merlot grapes. It is similar to Vermouth, and adds just a touch of sweetness. Finishing the prickly pear martini with orange bitters and a twist of orange complete this refreshing 4 seasons cocktail. If you’ve got the prickly pear pulp, this cocktail comes together in under 5 minutes!

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Prickly pear martini ingredients - Gin, Lillet Rouge, prickly pear pulp, and orange bitters.
  • prickly pear pulp – In my experience, each prickly pear yields approximately 2 tablespoons of pulp.
  • gin – While you don’t need a “top shelf” gin, resist the urge to use one from the bottom shelf either. On photo day, I used a very affordable Dripping Springs gin from a craft distillery in Texas. Gordon’s gin is widely available, affordable, and a great mixing gin.
  • Lillet Rouge – I chose Lillet Rouge because it is fruity, semi-dry, and has a hint of orange. It is similar to sweet vermouth, and sweet vermouth is a very good substitute. Both will enhance the gorgeous color of the cocktail.
  • orange bitters – I realize martinis don’t get finished with bitters, but this Manhattan girl LOVES BITTERS. The subtle orange in this cocktail really complements the prickly pear fruit IMHO.
  • garnish – The obvious choice is an orange twist or wheel. Lime or lemon would probably work as well.

🔪 Instructions

Step 1 - Add gin, Lillet Rouge, and prickly pear pulp to a shaker with ice.
  1. Add the gin, Lillet Rouge, and prickly pear pulp to a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously, then strain into martini glasses. Add a few shakes of orange bitters and an orange twist if desired. Sip and enjoy!
2 gorgeous prickly pear martinis with orange twist garnish and an empty mason jar shaker.


How long can I keep fresh prickly pear pulp?

I recommend up to 3 days in the refrigerator, and up to 12 months in the freezer.

💭 Top Tip for Perfect Orange Garnish

A single chopstick with a long piece of orange peel twisted around it.

I use a cocktail knife and a chopstick to make various lengths of citrus spirals. I have this cocktail knife and this cocktail knife, and I use them both. On photo day, I used the square version. I had a beautiful orange, and I got a really nice, long spiral! WIN!

I always make my garnishes in advance, to avoid unnecessary dilution of the cocktail in the shaker.

A fresh prickly pear martini in a tall martini glass with orange peel twist.

NOTE: When my husband makes me a cocktail, he always asks “my size” or “standard size?” 😂 Mark’s “size” is 50% bigger. I don’t always have the larger size, but I wanted to use my tall martini glasses, and the larger quantity looked better in the photos! I’m including both sizes in the recipe card.

Playing with cocktail recipes to me is much like playing with my food (which I love to do!). An added plus is that shooting cocktail photos feels much less challenging to me… I love to focus on unusual, less-common ingredients, and I look forward to doing a prickly pear sorbet and a savory recipe that uses the fresh prickly pear pulp. I’d love feedback in the comment box below!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

A single prickly pear cocktail in a stemmed martini glass with very long orange twist.

Prickly Pear Martini with Gin

Patterned after a dry martini, this refreshing cocktail features gin, Lillet Rouge, prickly pear pulp, and orange bitters in a lovely martini variant!
5 from 1 vote

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Prickly Pear Pulp 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Beverages
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 185 kcal


Standard Size Martini

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce Lillet Rouge - see Ingredients Notes in post
  • ½ ounce fresh prickly pear pulp
  • several dashes orange bitters
  • orange twist

Mark's Size Martini

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 1 ½ ounces Lillet Rouge
  • 1 ounce fresh prickly pear pulp
  • several dashes orange bitters
  • orange twist


  • Add gin, Lillet Rouge, and prickly pear pulp to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into a martini glass.
  • Finish with several dashes of orange bitters and an orange twist.


Calories above are for 1 standard size prickly pear martini. Mark’s size has approximately 278 calories.


Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 185kcal

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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