Persimmon Margaritas

Persimmon margarita

A few years ago, I had a major emergency. To you it might not seem like one, but it was springtime and I was finishing a book and needed to retest the recipe for Persimmon Cake because I wanted to give it one last go before it went to the printer. Persimmons are fall fruits and it’s impossible to find them outside of their season. And as much as I searched and searched and searched, there were none to be found.

Persimmon margaritas

So I started keeping an emergency bag of persimmon puree in my freezer at all times. I don’t know why, because I haven’t had a persimmon emergency since them (but heck, ya never know!) But when I pulled open my freezer lately and saw that it had become a frightening mélange of plastic bags whose labels had fallen off, ice cubes that had landed in the back of the shelves (with some misc. crumbs) – and – of course – just out of arms reach, scraps of things like tomato paste and bacon cubes, bits and pieces of cakes (I think) and pâté (I think), and bread ends, (probably) I decided to put an end to the madness once and for all, and do a massive clean-out.

Persimmon margaritas

So that’s one less disaster around here. On the other end of the scale, the “emergency” I hear from others is that they have too many persimmons, and don’t know what to do with them. Astute readers/bakers will find I have a Persimmon Bread recipe on the site, and a Persimmon Cake recipe in Ready for Dessert. So I was thrilled beyond words to find a recipe for a persimmon-based cocktail, ie: persimmon margaritas, in My Bueno, a terrific book of recipes culled from three generations of Mexican cooks. And it’s a recipe that combines my two of my favorite things – fresh fruit, and tequila.

Persimmon margaritas

After I whittled the freezer down, tossing things covered in several inches of ice crystals, thawing sorbets to rechurn, to give them a second chance, and wondering why I was saving a 5/8ths of a tablespoon of pear juice, I was ready for a cocktail. So took out my shaker and since there are no persimmon recipes in my next book, I killed two birds with one stone and took care of a few bags of persimmon puree (ok, I also made a few batches of persimmon bread), and toasted my clean freezer with an icy-cold drink.

Persimmon margaritas

Persimmon Margaritas

Makes 2 cocktails

Adapted from Muy Bueno by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, and Evangelina Soza

The authors recommend using Fuyu persimmons, which are short and squat, and can be eaten when firm. To puree them, find fruits that are bright orange. Remove the stems, cut the fruits in half, and peel the halves. Cut the flesh into cubes and puree them in a food processor. If using Hachiya persimmons (or another persimmon that needs to be fully ripe, and squishy-soft before using it), as I did, remove the stem, cut the fruits in half and scoop out the jelly-like pulp. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor.

The original recipe called for Fuyu persimmon puree and had twice the amount of sugar syrup that I used here. So feel free to use 1/4 cup (60ml) of sugar syrup, depending on the sweetness of the puree. But you can start with the amount indicated and add more, to taste. The authors recommend reposado tequila and, of course, you can multiply it up to serve as many people as you wish.

To make simple syrup, boil together equal amounts of sugar and water – I used 1/2 cup (125ml) water and 1/2 cup (100g) sugar – stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Leftover syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.

  • 4 ounces persimmon puree
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons simple syrup (see headnote)

sugar, sea salt and ground cinnamon

1. Chill two margarita glasses in the freezer. Spread a thin layer of sugar on a plate, and sprinkle it with a bit of flaky sea salt and ground cinnamon.

2. Add the persimmon puree, tequila, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until well-chilled.

3. Remove the glasses from the freezer and press the rims into the sugar mixture, ensuring that the entire rim gets coated.

4. Divide the cocktail mixture into the glasses and garnish with round of fresh lime. They can also be served over crushed ice.

Related Recipes and Links


Cranberry Margaritas (Leite’s Culinaria)

Frozen Melon Margaritas


Persimmon Pudding (Simply Recipes)


Muy Bueno Blog

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  • December 1, 2013 8:24pm

    Here is another idea for that frozen persimmon pulp. I love the margarita idea!! I will be trying it very soon… maybe this afternoon :-)

  • Bebe
    December 1, 2013 8:36pm

    David, you have just made me feel better. Serveral weeks ago our side-by-side refrigerator-freezer went kerplooey. Making terrible noises. The whole shebang had to be unloaded and the contents toted to a proprty we own in a neighboring city that has a refrigerator and separate freezer. We were fortunate – but what a mess. Much the same sort of bits and pieces (grated lemon rind, lemon juice, pasta sauces, etc. Dead black bananas for bread. Italinan plums, halved and pitted and carefully bagged, that I’d forgotten for several years as they were ‘way back in the back. Lumpy bags full of leftover things. Never again.

    My #1 son taught me one thing: When freezing anything mushy like pasta sauce or pureed fruit, put it in the freezer bag, seal, and put the bag flat on its side. When frozen, it makes a unit that can be stacked or, as they do it, stood on its end with other similar packages like vertical files. The latter prevents the “slide” that can occur if unrestrained baggies decide to slip and slide.

    They also use appropriately sized perforated square or rectangular plastic baskets in their freezer to keep things organized/confined. (Target has great ones here – believe they are Sterilite brand.)

    • December 2, 2013 9:29am
      David Lebovitz

      I also am a fan of the ‘lie flat’ ziploc bags in the freezer, since they take up less space. I used to use masking tape labels, which fall off – so now I write right on the bag. But I think it’s good every once in a while to have a “Freezer Clean-Out” and instead of buying food, going through and getting rid of everything and starting again. (This time, without the masking tape labels!)

      • Karen S.
        December 8, 2013 3:11pm

        Freezer tape, if you can find it, looks like masking tape but stays on better at freezing temperatures. Since you’re in California right now, I’ll mention that I’ve usually been able to find it at OSH. But you’re right that for plastic bags, you’re better off writing directly on the bag.

        This may sound a little OCD, but several years ago when I cleaned out my deep freeze, I made a list of everything I put back into it. And I’ve maintained that list faithfully ever since, including putting dates both on the items and on the list so I can see what’s been in there for Far Too Long. OCD, I know, but at least I have fewer, “Oh, I didn’t remember I had THAT in there” moments. Plus I can study the list instead of digging around in the freezer examing packages.

  • steven
    December 1, 2013 8:42pm

    what funny little cocktail glasses … also nice to see you are ready to bust open the Fritos ;-)

  • December 1, 2013 9:29pm

    Um – what IS a persimmon? Would I know it by another name? From the context, I assume it is a tropical fruit of some kind, but I don’t know any fruit of that name, which is why I wondered if it’s called something else here.

  • December 1, 2013 11:05pm

    I love this flavour! Looks awesome!

  • December 1, 2013 11:38pm

    Love this idea! I used to buy persimmons for so cheap when I lived in Turkey – you could find them in some places just dripping off the trees even in Istanbul! Now, that I’m in Warsaw, I still have access to those delicious Turkish persimmons. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  • Reece
    December 2, 2013 12:05am

    The only thing that sounds better than persimmon margaritas is persimmon margaritas + Fritos!

    • December 2, 2013 9:27am
      David Lebovitz

      Ha! I found the Fritos in a store and was hemming and hawing about buying them. (I don’t think they’re really all that good for you…) But in the end, couldn’t resist. I figure one bag every 20 or so years can’t hurt. Right? And it’s hard to drink margaritas without chips of some sort ~!

  • Gavrielle
    December 2, 2013 1:17am

    David, sorry, nothing to do with your delicious-looking margaritas – I really want to try the chocolate pain d’epices you gave the recipe for in your newsletter (subscribe to the newsletter, everybody! It’s awesome!) but need to check one ingredient. You give the cocoa measurement as 3 tablespoons or 20 grams, but as far as I know a tablespoon is 15 grams (the Australian tablespoon is 20). Which one is the correct measurement? Thanks!

    • December 2, 2013 9:26am
      David Lebovitz

      You folks must have some pretty big tablespoons in Australia! : )

      One tablespoon of cocoa powder is 6-7g as I measure it (I dip the spoon into the cocoa, and swipe the excess off the top with a knife) – if in doubt, use the metric measurement since I’m not sure the size of tablespoons in Australia.

  • December 2, 2013 1:39am

    You know, I just can’t do persimmons. I’ve only tried them once but they were much to floral and perfumey for my liking.

  • Gavrielle Perry
    December 2, 2013 12:43pm

    David – oh, I see, you’re weighing the cocoa, which of course is perfectly sensible – I’m just used to recipes which assume that a teaspoon measure will weigh 5 grams and a tablespoon 15, which of course would actually be way out for something as light as cocoa. Here in New Zealand we have the “standard” tablespoon of 15g, but I often use Australian recipes and have to remember not to be caught out by their humungous 20g tablespoon:). Thanks! I look fowarrd to trying the pain d’epices.

  • Lisa
    December 2, 2013 3:13pm

    Rats. I thought I had tried every margarita flavor possible, including a cilantro margarita in Austin, TX (bleh-leave the cilantro for the salsa!)

    Thanks for the idea, David. Looks great as usual!

  • Bebe
    December 2, 2013 5:23pm

    For Annabel, who doesn’t tell us where she lives…

    In California we have Hachiyas (and some grow them here). They must be completely ripe – they are too astringent when unripe, but become very sweet when ripe. The non-astringent persimmons in our markets are Fuyus.

  • Tricia
    December 2, 2013 6:10pm

    I almost made persimmon bread yesterday – but was too jet-lagged. So happy to have saved my glut of Hachiyas for margaritas!
    Persimmons are Sharon fruit in UK.

  • Dana
    December 2, 2013 6:22pm

    Oh Dave! I just picked up 8 fresh persimmons from the farmers market and this margarita is now at the top of my to make list….Maybe I’ll drink it while making my Christmas cookies to send out. Now, I just bought a huge bunch of meyer lemons from the farmers for $1! Please tell me, what should I do with them? I’m good with lemon curd, but I’d bet you have more suggestions.

  • Kathleen
    December 2, 2013 6:32pm

    The authors of the Muy Bueno cookbook, in which you found the margarita recipe, also have a wonderful web site. Their most recent post is for persimmon cookies, something to make when one has an abundance of persimmons, which, alas, is not my experience.

  • December 2, 2013 6:34pm


    Still enjoying the persimmon bread that you made, and this cocktail sounds fantastic…and I just happen to have a “fond” of tequila…so here we go!

  • December 2, 2013 9:25pm

    Ah – sharon fruit! NOW I’m with you! Not sure I’ve ever tried one, but you can certainly get them in the street markets here, and occasionally in the supermarkets. Thanks.

  • joyce
    December 2, 2013 9:34pm

    Hi David, I went to the persimmon bread recipe, it’s looks great! Do you think cardamom would go with it instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg or to replace one of them? If so how much should I use and/or which spice should it replace? Thanks Joyce

    • December 3, 2013 8:45am
      David Lebovitz

      Cardamom is lovely and could be used. I can’t say how much to add or what to replace without actually testing it myself, but I would imagine dialing down the cinnamon, and adding ground cardamom to taste would be the way to go.

  • Elizabeth
    December 2, 2013 10:39pm

    I am in coastal S. California and have a non-astringent persimmon tree. I trim off the scraped black areas (branch scars) and the stem and puree the whole thing, skin and all. Then I freeze in 1 cup containers since most of my recipes call for 1 cup. I was getting worried about my freezer supply – the last couple of years the critters wiped out most of the crop because I was waiting for them to finish coloring up on the tree. I had dozens of fruit disappear overnight. I’m willing to share, but they were way too greedy. No more. This year I picked them a bit early and they are safely finishing up on the counter – I managed to save a more than 100 – last year I got less than a dozen. I think I have enough to spare to try a persimmon margarita :)

  • Lisa
    December 3, 2013 4:07am

    Persimmons! What a fun blog today, David. I’ve been sharing your missives with my 86 y.o. mother, Doris, who loved her vacation in Paris, Monaco, Province and Nice. And she’s a “persimmon lover”. As a native Hoosier, she has a favorite persimmon cookbook from Indiana and a persimmon pudding recipe she has made. Therefore, it was a treat to tell her about your persimmon margarita.

    Her favorite persimmon cookbook, “Old-fashioned Persimmon Recipe” published by Bear Wallow Books, of Brown County, IN is available on Amazon.

    But her favorite recipe is from the famous sex therapist, Dr. Kinsey (don’t know if that makes the recipe better). She adds hard sauce and whipped cream.

    Here it is:

    Dr. Kinsey and most people think of the books based on his surveys of human sexual behavior. But when Dr. Kinsey’s name crops up, I think of the best darned Persimmon Pudding! 1 found his recipe for it in “Edible Wild P l a n t s o f E a s t e r n N o r t h America,” a book Professor Alfred Charles Kinsey of Indiana University co-authored in 1943, five years before his first book on sex was published

    In his introduction to the recipe, Kinsey commented, “One of the best ways of serving persimmons is in a pudding.”

    Here’s the recipe Kinsey favored, his directions brought up to date:

    Dr. Kinsey’s Persimmon Pudding

    2 cups flour, fork-stir before measuring

    1 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon allspice

    1/2 teaspoon cloves

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    5 medium (about) soft and juicy (fully ripe) cultivated persimmons

    1 large egg

    2 cups milk

    On wax paper, thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, soda, salt, allspice, cloves and cinnamon.

    Halve the persimmons and put through a food mill; discard the skin residue; there should be 2 cups pulp.

    In a large mixing bowl beat the egg and milk until blended; add the 2 cups persimmon pulp and beat until blended.

    Add the flour mixture and beat well until blended.

    Turn into a buttered 2- quart oblong glass baking dish (11 by 7 1/2 by 1 inches) or similar.

    Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean — about l 1/4 hours.

    The pudding will look dark brown. Serve warm with whipped cream. Makes about 12 servings.

    Mom makes a hard sauce to add when serving. Yum.

  • Caroline
    December 3, 2013 4:36am

    Yay! I have a bunch of persimmon purée AND whole persimmons in my freezer from last year that I’d forgotten. I have reason to dig them out now, thanks!

    • Elizabeth Van Pelt
      December 3, 2013 7:57am


      Thanks for the heads up on the Bear Wallow Persimmon Cookbook. It is out of print but I managed to snag a used copy for a few dollars from a third party seller. :)

  • December 3, 2013 3:44pm

    I love that you shared this and I’m SO looking forward to making a batch!

  • Lisa in Indianapoliis
    December 4, 2013 3:41am

    Caroline, Elizabeth & Loulou ~ so happy to receive your notes. Enjoy the persimmon pudding! Happy holidays. Lisa

  • Martha Stevens
    December 4, 2013 8:54pm

    Thank you for the advice about when to use my under-ripe persimmons David! I made persimmon tarts – a basic gluten-free pate brisee type of dough with sliced persimmons, a little sugar and cinnamon sifted over, dotted with butter. Don’t know why it’s so good, but it really is one of my favorite tarts.

  • Kristen
    December 22, 2013 4:54am

    You will be happy to know that I am drinking one of these right now. Flavor is amazing. But it was so thick it would not pour through my cocktail shaker. What did I do wrong?

    • December 22, 2013 3:49pm
      David Lebovitz

      Fruit will always vary since it’s not a standardized product, so you probably didn’t do anything wrong; it’s likely the water content of your persimmons. You can add a dash of orange juice to make it more liquidy. Some people use Fuyu persimmons, which have less-moisture, and I used Hachiya, which have more.