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Cactus Restaurants

2013 Margarita Mixology & Tequila Tasting


Cacti can go for years without water, but us thirsty folks need refreshments every few hours. Stay on schedule with a trip to Cactus, where you can claim your spot at a festive 1.5-hour margarita mixology class for $39 (regularly $79). You’ll get instruction on the art of making “Seattle’s Best Margarita,” including a tequila tasting, one margarita, paired appetizers, and take-home recipes and bottle of agave nectar to perfect your cocktail at home.

What You Get

Entry for One to 1.5-Hour Margarita Mixology Class
Partida Tequila Tasting & One Perfect Partida Margarita
Take-Home Recipes & Bottle of Partida Agave Nectar

Reserve Your Spot

There are still spots available for the 2013 class on Feb 16th, Feb 23rd, and March 2nd=. Email Marc directly for information about attending these last few classes.

Special Patron Dinner

Please join us on the private dining mezzanine at Cactus South Lake Union for a special four course dinner paired with handcrafted cocktails featuring the ultra-premium tequila from Patron.

Executive Chef Brent Novotny has developed each cocktail to specifically enhance the flavors of each dish. In addition to the food and cocktail pairing, you’ll have a chance to taste the spirits “neat” so you can clearly taste how Patron tequila is the perfect spirit to bring out the flavors in our cuisine. At the end of the meal, Patron will also be sampling the two most sought after (and expensive) tequilas they retail—Gran Patron Burdeos Tequila Añejo and Gran Patron Tequila Platinum.

Space is very limited, so reserve your spot now.

Patron Tequila Dinner

When: Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 6:30PM
Where: Cactus South Lake Union
Cost: $75 Per Person + Tax and Gratuity


Bacon Wrapped Gulf Prawns
Mango-habanero salsa

Columbia River Steelhead
Ancho & chile de arbol salsa, white beans, braised kale

Wild Boar Carnitas
Washington apple slaw, house-made tortilla

Patron XO + Chocolate Terrine
Mexican cinnamon whipped cream, patron citronge marmalade

Request An Invite

Sorry, this event is now closed

Posted on in Events

Meet the Maker: Happy Hour with Master Distiller Carlos Camarena

Cactus invites you to an exclusive opportunity to meet world famous Master Distiller Carlos Camarena, Master Distiller of El Tesoro de Don Felipe. This is an unparalleled opportunity share in generations of agave/tequila expertise and talk with one of the industry’s most respected craftsman. We’ll be offering our usual outstanding Happy Hour until 7:00 so you can help celebrate!

When: Monday, July 16th from 5:00 – 7:00
Where: Cactus South Lake Union
Cost: $12 buys you a tequila tasting with Carlos and special cocktail “Summer in Arandas”. This is one of the best tequila based cocktails we’ve ever made: El Tesoro Platinum, cucumber, mint and hand squeezed lime.

Aha Toro Tequila Dinner

Please join us on the private dining mezzanine at Cactus South Lake Union for a special tequila tasting and four course dinner. If you haven’t tried ultra-premium tequila, now’s your chance.

The event kicks off with an Aha Toro Margarita followed by a four course tasting menu created by Chef Brent Novotny. Brent will pair a course with each of the three styles of Aha Toro Tequila—Blanco, Reposado, and Añejo—finishing off the meal with a dessert course and single-origin Mexican coffee pairing

Join Us

When: Saturday March 31st, 2012 at 6:30PM
Where: Cactus South Lake Union
Cost: $50 Per Person + Tax and Gratuity
$25 per person refundable deposit required to reserve your spot.

This event is closed to reservations, sorry.


Menu subject to change.

Aha Toro Margarita
Served before dinner.

Ahi Tuna Ceviche
Avocado, Serrano chiles, lime, radish.
Paired with Aha Toro Blanco

Seared Sea Scallops & Crispy Pork Belly
Jalapeno cream, blistered corn + rajas salsa.
Paired with Aha Toro Reposado

Negra Modelo Braised Short Ribs
Ancho chile glaze, hatch green chile masa cake.
Paired with Aha Toro Añjeo

Three Milk Cuban Flan
Paired with Rococo Coffee Roasting’s single origin “Mexico Reserva Terruno Nayarita”.

More About Aha Toro Tequila

Tequila has evolved significantly from the old days of salt, shot, lime, repeat. The notion of tequila as a world-class spirit is firmly established and the concept of “terrior” in tequila is now gaining traction. Thus, with tequila consumption at an all-time high, people are drinking tequila on more occasions, experimenting with new labels, and learning to appreciate the nuances of flavor.

Aha Toro is made by Destilados Olé, a 100% Mexican company in Jalisco, creating tequila as it has been done traditionally for years. The Tequilana Weber Azul variety of Agave plant used by Destilados Olé to produce the tequila is grown just outside of Arandas in the Jalisco Highlands. The climate and soil keep the agave cool year round, lending a very distinctive aroma and flavor. The tequila is double distilled and aged in American oak. It is then transferred to unique blown-glass bottles, handcrafted by local artisans.

Join us! And enjoy Aha Toro and the cuisine of Cactus restaurants. Salud!

The Cactus Brand Redesign Project

The old Cactus logo. Retired at age 20

We’ve had a complete rebrand in mind for some time now, as the Cactus look & feel was starting to show a bit of wear after twenty years of steady use. The old Cactus brand served us well, but it was time for a refresh. In addition, when we first named the restaurant, we called it ¡Cactus!, using the traditional Spanish punctuation to add a bit of excitement. Years later, with the advent of all things iPod and iPad, people assumed we were trying to cash in on the tech boom by running a place called i-Cactus. Not so good.

So, with a South Lake Union lease in the works we started looking for a partner to work with that could bring experience with both graphic design and web design—and hopefully some restaurant experience as well. After some searching, we hired LookatLao Studio here in Seattle. We had actually met with Geoffrey a year or so earlier to discuss some future website updates, but we never got around to it. Geoff had a full plate at the time of our offer, but I think he could sense a great opportunity with a company our size and we began on the project in early summer 2011.

Geoff brought in a colleague, Nikki Cole and they spent a fair amount of time exploring different ways to redefine Cactus as a business. We definitely wanted to move away from the current trend in Mexican restaurants by avoiding anything that was too dark or too gothic. We wanted it to feel a bit more mature and bit more modern as well. And, we also wanted to get back to our roots a bit, by looking at ways to champion the American Southwest. In the end, the word that kept coming up the most was: vacation. We want people to feel like they are on a vacation when they come to Cactus, and we wanted to convey that somehow with the brand.

Mimbres pottery. (Photo David Monniaux)

After a month or so of looking at various concepts and after much deliberation, we decided to go with a strong Southwestern identity system inspired by Mimbres pottery from a Native American Indian culture known as the Mogollon, who lived in what is now southern New Mexico. The Mimbres pottery incorporated circular shapes, animals and geometric patterns. Pulling from that, Geoff and Nikki took the project a step further and created unique logos for each restaurant, with each mark becoming its own abstraction of a cactus plant. From there we infused them all with a liberal dose of color inspired by bright, sun-drenched Southwestern palettes.

When the identity system was complete we started rolling out collateral and introducing textures and color. After that LookatLao delivered a website completely rebuilt from the ground up. (You’re looking at it.) All the new work pulled directly from the brand project, and it is safe to say that we now have a fresh, consistent brand presence.

This whole project was a really fun process and we’re all looking forward to taking it to the next level moving forward. Join us downtown and check out the new Cactus.

Posted on in News