The Cactus Kid

The weather was drop-dead gorgeous on this breezy late Saturday afternoon, and the patio at the Raven Grill (1916 Bissonnet, 713-521-2027) was the perfect place to enjoy it -- at least until a woman who clearly liked to hear herself talk sat down at a nearby table. First it was all about the garlic mashed potatoes. Then it was on to some falling stock price. Then the real estate market. Then a female co-worker who refused to wear underwear! If her poor, silent dining companion hadn't occasionally raised his fork to his mouth, it would've been hard to tell he was still breathing. I thought about recommending to him the drink I was sipping: a strange margarita hybrid with a pinkish hue called a Tunarita. It doesn't taste all that different from the standard, but this one is made with juice from a cactus pear, otherwise known as a prickly pear or, in Mexico, simply tuna. Both the pads (or leaves) and the fruit of the tuna are edible once the spines are removed. The yellow, orange or red fruit can be eaten as is, but to extract the juice, cut the pads and carefully scoop out the insides. Freeze the juice for future use.

The Raven Grill's Tunarita:
1 1/2 ounces Jose Cuervo Gold
1/2 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce cactus juice
1/4 ounce sour mix

Combine ingredients in a martini shaker filled with ice. Shake gently and strain over ice in a salted highball glass. Garnish with lime.


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