Champagne and prickly pear syrup made from peeled, deseeded prickly pear fruit and monk fruit make this distinct brunch beverage like no other.
Imagine it's fall and you're at the local botanical garden with your favorite daughter (she knows who she is). The prickly pear fruits are ripe and literally dropping at our feet. It's like they are asking us to take them home. That actually happened.
What would you do, just leave them there? Of course not! We made out like bandits with two prickly pear fruits. I'm not sure we are supposed to take fruit from the botanical garden, but we did it anyway. And we paid for it with few prickers in our fingers, too, from handling the cactus fruits.
A few years ago, I would frequent a restaurant in my walkable neighborhood in downtown Salt Lake City for their prickly pear mimosas for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Not many foods in nature are bright magenta, and the distinct flavor of prickly pear had me coming back for more. Alas, the restaurant closed and I missed my prickly pear mimosas.
Did you know prickly pear juice is a popular hangover cure? And, animal and human studies prove it has several medicinal uses including benefits for patients with diabetes.
With my stolen fruit securely in my possession, I decided that making prickly pear mimosas was the obvious thing to do with them. I peeled them, and scooped out the seeds. Then I chopped the fruits up very finely and put them in a sauce pan with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener, and brought it all to a rolling boil.
After about one minute, I removed from heat and squeezed in a squeeze of lemon juice. I poured the syrup into a little pitcher and put some plastic wrap around it. After a week in the fridge, this prickly pear simple syrup had the same distinct taste I remember.
Open a bottle of Champagne and pour yourself a glass. Spoon in 2 tablespoons of the prickly pear syrup and enjoy!