Mixologist of the month – Stephen ‘Q’ Quainton @ LUCA

It is impossible to miss LUCA Restaurant, located in the Caribbean Club on West Bay Road. Beyond its enviable address, it is always bustling with diners headed through its doors for lunch, dinner or its famous Sunday brunch. What goes best with such food? Custom cocktails, of course, and there is no better man for the job than Stephen “Q” Quainton.

Stephen was born in Oxford, U.K. and his first service job was in the Oxford Brookes University Kitchen at the tender age of 16. Probably didn’t hurt that his cousin was the chef there.

Two years late, he was working bar shifts over the weekend at The Old Fire Station. It was here that he got a real taste of bartending … and he enjoyed it.

Through school and university (studying such subjects as math, physics and chemistry), Stephen continued to learn more about mixing on the job. Well, the chemistry had to be useful.

Over the years he has worked in the U.K., Sydney and Rio, with particularly memorable times in London – like his stint as manager at Soho House which “definitely stands out as a highlight.”

In 2014, a friend in the Cayman Islands suggested that he might want to try the Caribbean next.

Why not?

Since Stephen arrived in Cayman he has certainly made his mark in the industry and working at LUCA is the next step. With its large bar designed with a social scene in mind, he can ply his trade with ease.

When asked what he likes about bartending biz, Stephen says, “It’s a great industry to be in, with some truly amazing people. Industry staff are a special breed. There is always something to learn or teach and your working day is never, ever the same as the last.”

He’s pretty happy about his position at the popular restaurant on Seven Mile as well.

“Luca is a very special place, it’s more than just a restaurant in a hotel,” he says. “It definitely has a family-run feel and is welcoming to all kinds of people.

“That, and the fact that it’s right in the middle of one of nicest beaches in the world, make it an OK place to work [smiles].”

Watermelon Lush

  • 2 ounces Stoli Gluten Free
  • 2 ounces fresh watermelon juice
  • 1 ounce passion fruit purée
  • Garnish with watermelon wedge

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Add garnish.