As anyone will tell you, the perfect drink on a warm Phoenix day is, of course, the margarita. The versatile drink can be made with a variety of ingredients and flavors. But if you’re going to have one in Phoenix, the one to have is the prickly pear. Made with the fruit of cacti native to Arizona, the flavor profile is sweet and light with a hint of tartness.
For the ultimate summer refresher, make your way to these Phoenix restaurants, where unique versions of the prickly pear margarita await you.
Nestled in the heart of Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, Chelsea’s Kitchen is a local landmark that serves roadhouse-style cuisine that celebrates the American Southwest. Regional flavors shine through not only in such signature dishes as the green chile burger and the vegetarian tacos, but also in their expertly crafted cocktail menu. Chelsea’s version of the prickly pear margarita is made with blanco tequila infused with the sweet cactus fruit, house-made sweet and sour, and curacao.
5040 N. 40th St., Phoenix
Offering a fresh twist on Mexican food favorites, Blanco Tacos + Tequila is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy a refreshing margarita on a summer day. With locations in the Biltmore Fashion Park and The Borgata in Scottsdale (as well as inside Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for the jet set), this easy, breezy hangout makes its version of the prickly pear margarita with Jose Cuervo Silver, St. Germain and their own prickly pear sour made with lime juice, pear puree, Desert Pear Monin, lemon juice and simple syrup.
2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
6166 N. Scottsdale Road, #601, Scottsdale
There’s no denying that margaritas and tacos are a match made in heaven. Nothing beats sipping a cold, fruity marg in between bites of delicious tacos spilling over with steak, pork, chicken, fish or shrimp. Making the most of this dynamic duo is Joyride Taco House, located in north central Phoenix as well as Gilbert. Fresh and fruity, this prickly pear margarita is made with tequila, triple sec, prickly pear and fresh lime.
5202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
302 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Inspired by the bounty that springs forth from the rich Arizona land, Palette offers a seasonally-focused menu featuring organic vegetables, local meats, and unique beers and wines made throughout the state. So it only makes sense that this lovely café, surrounded by stunning art at the Phoenix Art Museum, would offer its own version of the prickly pear margarita. Here it’s made with white tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and prickly pear, served with a salted glass rim.
1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Z’Tejas has been serving up Southwestern cuisine with bold, flavorful twists for three decades. However, a couple years ago it rolled out a new cocktail menu celebrating the flavors of the Southwest. The made-to-order, hand-shaken drinks included margaritas, mules and Mexican martinis starring fresh fruit and citrus juices. Here, the Prickly Pear Margarita is made of Sauza Blue Reposado tequila, prickly pear puree and fresh lime juice.
10625 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
7221 W. Ray Road, Chandler
Take one step into the Sandbar Mexican Grill and you’re immediately transported to a beachfront bar, all dressed up for a tropical soiree. With three Greater Phoenix locations, this festive spot serves a slew of cocktails and drinks. And while you may be tempted to try any one of their beach-worthy selections, you can’t go wrong with the prickly pear margarita, made with Patron Silver Tequila, Patron Citronge, and prickly pear liqueur and extract.
21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix
7200 W. Ray Road, Chandler
1975 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
Dining and cocktails on the patio at historic El Chorro—along with its famous Sticky Buns—is a long-standing Phoenix tradition. In fact, during the 1950s, such well-known icons as Milton Berle and Clark Gable frequented this Paradise Valley favorite as a hideaway from the demands of Hollywood life. You’ll feel like a star yourself, sipping El Chorro’s prickly pear margarita made with Reposado Tequila, prickly pear syrup, triple sec, lime juice and a splash of Sprite.
5550 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley
The concept of Modern Margarita is a lot like cocktail program: a modern twist on traditional. Here, all of the inventive margaritas are made with local ingredients—choose from watermelon, mango and, of course, prickly pear. Formally, the Sonoran Sunset, this margarita combines Maestro Dobel Diamante, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice and prickly pear syrup. Fair warning, all the on-the-rocks varieties are available by the glass or the fish bowl size (far from the worst idea we’ve ever had). There is also equally modern tacos to pair with this unmistakable pink drink, we recommend the chef’s choice tacos … especially if you order the fish bowl.
5410 E. High St., Phoenix
Forty years after the original Rito’s opened at 14th and Roosevelt streets in the historic Garfield neighborhood, the beloved restaurant has expanded to three locations: the original Garfield location, one in Surprise, and its latest incarnation at The Crown on 7th, where it joins neighbors Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen and Pubblico Italian Eatery. The prickly pear margarita is a must, pairing well with Rito’s selection of authentic Mexican food favorites.
5813 N. Seventh St., Phoenix
907 N. 14th St., Phoenix
Prickly pear margaritas are also a favorite at Phoenix hotel bars and resort pools. If you're staying at any of these properties, you have fruity succulent goodness right at your fingertips (no need to wait for happy hour):