Zenia Soto celebrates successful career at Hussong’s Cantina
Recently, a Facebook reminder popped up on Zenia Soto’s feed. The one where it says “four years ago today, you posted this”—a reminder of where you were and what you were doing at the time. For Soto, she was still in her hometown of San Diego, contemplating taking her years of experience working in Mexican cantinas and apply it to a bartending career in Las Vegas.
“Looking at that Facebook post, who would have ever thought that I’d be here now?” said Soto, the beverage manager and lead mixologist for Hussong’s Cantina in The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. “I thought it would take years and years or it would be impossible to be where I am now.”
In just four years, Soto has moved up the ladder from the restaurant’s bartender to running the bar program in her current position. During that time, Soto has come up with unique recipes, including pumpkin spice, rose petal and raspberry lemon drop margaritas. “I’ve taken the basics of the margarita, which is the sweet, the sour and the tequila, and then worked with fresh components,” Soto said.
She implemented a “margarita of the month” program about a year and a half ago, and it’s been so successful that it’s been pushed out to other Hussong’s. While she no longer works full time behind the bar, when Soto gets the opportunity, she still indulges her passion for creating cocktails.
“I enjoy being crafty and making drinks people enjoy,” she said. “It’s like an art. And I take pride in what I do—what I’ve learned. I’ve accomplished a lot and I aspire to keep growing.” It seems like a sure bet that Soto’s next four-year Facebook reminder will find her celebrating even more success.
Hussong’s Cantina has long claimed that its first outpost in Ensenada, Mexico, was the home of the original margarita. And although some have disputed that claim, the general consensus is that it is true. So your choice of cocktail should be an easy one: try a margarita. And if you want to taste just how creative one can get with the cocktail, check out the specialty margaritas menu, where a dozen creations are all delicious, like the Raspberita. Served on the rocks, it’s mixed with Casamigos blanco tequila (yes, George Clooney’s brand), lime juice and muddled raspberries.