Quinn Stephenson, owner of Santacafé, pours cocktail “Cactus Heart.”

Mix Master

Quinn Stephenson Talks Cocktails

by Nicole Pearson

The Santa Fean asked Quinn Stephenson, owner of the iconic Santacafé, for two cocktail recommendations: a cocktail that readers can make at home and one they should try when dining at Santacafé. A superb restauranteur and mixologist extraordinaire, Stephenson suggests a Cactus Heart for a glamorous, delicious, make-at-home cocktail, and ordering a Midas Touch at the restaurant.

A brightly colored cocktail
An easy-to-make cocktail, "Cactus Heart"
A cocktail in a cognac glass
Santacafé's cocktail, "The Midas Touch"

Cactus Heart

The Cactus Heart is so named because when the blue at the bottom travels upward and infuses with the pink at the top, it creates purple veins reminiscent of the heart. The two colors eventually meld and become a glorious deep fuchsia. Topped with fresh edible flowers, it’s the perfect summer drink. Cool, fresh and stunning, this cocktail is sure to wow you and your guests.

Recipe: Place four ice cubes in bottom of a highball glass and wet them with a spritz of blue curaçao. Fill the rest of glass with ice. In a shaker full of ice combine 2 ounces silver tequila, 3 ounces of margarita mix and 1 ounce of The Perfect Purée Prickly Pear (available online). Shake and strain into the highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with edible flowers.

Midas Touch

The Midas Touch is Stephenson’s top recommendation when dining at his restaurant, indisputably home to one of the city’s best, most spacious outdoor dining areas. Named for the drink’s resemblance to gold, this complex beverage is an absolute showstopper. It’s clear why this is not a do-it-yourself drink. Along with absinthe for a slight licorice undertone, bourbon, cognac, bourbon, rum and black tea, the drink’s complex flavor profile includes notes of banana, pineapple, cinnamon and star anise. The cocktail is finished with a milk wash and beer glitter to create a swirl of golden ripples reminiscent of a sunlit beach or sun-kissed desert sand. The aptly named Midas Touch, with its well-rounded, smooth finish, could very well trigger, well, a gold rush.

Nicole Pearson

Originally from Lawrence, Kansas, Nicole came with her fiancé back to his hometown of Santa Fe after college. They have one son. Nicole has years of experience editing academic manuscripts for publication. She holds multiple degrees, including a BS in speech, language and hearing, and two master’s degrees in education. She loves hiking, camping, reading, collecting bronze sculptures, early mornings and any opportunity to watch live sporting events.


Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.