Painted Desert Margarita

by Julie Cohn
Painted Desert Margarita 1

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The Southwest United States is known for its gorgeous sunsets and colorful landscape.  A kaleidoscope of red, purple, green, and turquoise paint the landscape of craggy desert hills and rock; vibrant yellow, orange, red, and purple streak across the evening sky at sunset, creating a one-of-a-kind nightly tapestry that fades into twilight.  This Painted Desert Margarita celebrates all those spectacular colors of the painted desert.

I used a silver tequila for this margarita because it is smoother, with less bite than a traditional gold margarita, allowing the other flavors to shine through.  Silver tequila is bold, yet oh so silky, a perfect compliment to the orange and pomegranate juices and prickly pear syrup in this cocktail.   Painted Desert Margarita2


Painted Desert Margarita

  • 3 oz. Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz. Orange Liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • 1 Tbsp. Prickly Pear Syrup (found in specialty gourmet shops)
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 oz. Orange Juice
  • 2 oz. Pomegranate Juice

Rim a margarita glass with a slice of lime, then dip in rock salt.  Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice.  Mix together the tequila, Cointreau, prickly pear syrup, and lime juice.  Shake well.  Add the orange juice and shake.  Pour into the margarita glass.  Slowly pour the pomegranate juice in the center of the cocktail, so the juice drops to the bottom and does not mix into the orange.   The prickly pear syrup and orange juice give the cocktail its purple-orange hue, and the pomegranate juice adds the brilliant red.

Painted Desert Margarita 5


Note:  For an added kick and more colorful rim, mix your dipping salt with a little bit of crushed rock candy sugar in purple or pink before dipping the glass.  The combination of sweet and salty on the rim is incredible!


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