Lake Tahoe Drink of the Week: Caliente’s Prickly Pear Margarita

One of the largest components of Tahoe’s nightlife is the mix of countless breweries, bars and restaurants that offer unique drinks difficult to find outside the basin.

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try around the basin.

If you thought that the prickly pear was nothing more than a pear with a rough-around-the-edges personality, boy are you in for a treat with this week’s cocktail.

Prickly pears are essentially a fruit from a cactus. Their neon pink color lends to creating some beautiful (in this case) cocktails. And if you’re looking for the perfect cocktail to kick off the summer season, you might not have to look too much further.

After all their spikes are shaved off, a delightful prickly pear puree is where this drink starts. Given a shake with Herradura Blanco tequila, agave nectar, fresh lime juice, and then the addition of the iconic salt rim, this libation is a unique and delicious stroll down summer solstice boulevard.

The smell is sparkly and fruity and from that point on, you know you’re in for a flavor fiesta.

Like a piñata bursting in your mouth, the tequila erupts up front, but then gets sweetened out by the puree, nectar and lime. The fruit profile is like a cross between a pear and a watermelon, but it never gets into that Mary Poppins territory (too sweet).

Apparently the prickly pear has quite a few health advantages. Anywhere from treating diabetes, to high cholesterol, to stomach problems, to sunburn, this fruit seems to wear a cape underneath it’s pointy exterior. I’m not a doctor, but it this drink might even be considered good for you (wink, wink).

I forgot to mention one of the other items this fruit is used for is to treat hangovers. Now, if that isn’t the circle of life, I don’t know what is. Hakuna matata, friends!

Caliente is located at 8791 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach. For more information visit them online at or by phone at 530-546-1000.

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