Scottsdale Cocktails – The Happy Cactus

Written by Geri Koeppel Category: Drink Issue: July 2011

The Gallery Café at Heard Museum North Scottsdale
32633 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

Ladies and gents who lunch, take heed: The Heard Museum North Scottsdale, a smaller sibling of the Downtown museum that houses a world-famous American Indian art collection, serves superb midday fare along with cocktails.

The newest addition, created by Café Manager Irene Rutigliano, is the Happy Cactus. She squeezes the juice of two limes, puts the juice and limes into a shaker and muddles them, then removes the fruits. She adds 1 ½ ounces simple syrup, fills the shaker three-quarters full of ice, adds 1 ½ ounces Leblon cachaça (a Brazilian spirit distilled from sugar cane) and stuffs in the leaves from a bunch of cilantro, with stems broken off and discarded.

She shakes it vigorously and pours it into a short rocks glass rimmed with a mixture of sugar and tajin, a Mexican seasoning blend of ground chile, salt and dehydrated lime juice often sprinkled on fruit. The refreshing combination is reminiscent of a margarita but with a more complex blend of floral, herbal, tangy and sweet flavors.