"It is the first and only vodka in the world made out of cactus," said Nick Spink, the founder of Spike Vodka
"Why I chose the cactus is to make a signature vodka for Texas," Spink said, "and I mean how much more Texan can you get than cactus."
Prickly pear cactus
He's got a point. The prickly pear cactus is the official state plant of Texas, says
State Symbols USA.
Found in the deserts of the American southwest, it is part of the diet in Mexican and Mexican-American cultures, and have been a source of food to native Americans for thousands of years.
According to WebMD
, only the young plant is eaten; older plants are too tough. The fruit is sold under the name "Tuna"; the branches or pads are eaten as a vegetable, called "nopalito" or "nopales."
WebMD says prickly pear cactus is also used for medicine, including:
■ type 2 diabetes
■ high cholesterol
■ alcohol hangover
■ benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)
■ also used to fight viral infections
How does it work?
Prickly pear cactus contains fiber and pectin, WebMD writes, which can lower blood glucose by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestine. Some researchers think that it might also decrease cholesterol levels, and kill viruses in the body.
Making cactus vodka
According to KLTV, each day Nick and master distiller Rachel Price chop up chunks of prickly pear cactus and toss them into barrels - which are then sealed, fermented, distilled, filtered, bottled and labeled.
Why the name Spike?
"We've been pricked too many times by those thorns," Spink says laughing.
"It's all the way that you hold the cactus that slices through just right." Price chimes in.
"As opposed to it slicing through you?"
"Yes, which happens quite often," Price says.
But while making cactus vodka can be painful. Nick and Rachel say the final product - is anything but.
"It's smooth, it's sweet." Price tells KLTV.
According to their Facebook
page, Spike Vodka retails for between $19.00 and $22.00.
Available at all the Alamo City Liquor stores in San Antonio.