Why We Love Alba Huerta
A drink with Alba is the perfect remedy for a long day, the kind of trip down memory lane you never knew you could experience in a glass. Alba’s hospitality and compassionate nature makes us feel at home whenever we’re with her. She’s able to transport us anywhere in the world in just a few sips, a mixology muse that’s forever inspiring us with her creativity and dedication to her craft.
“My responsibility as your bartender — and as your personal drinking guide — is to let you know what's out there in the world.”
“I’m an immigrant, and I think that’s a big part of why the American South calls me...in Houston I always felt included. I got to grow up in a city that was very multicultural and constantly culturally changing, and I see a lot of that in the new American South.”
You started preparing cocktails before you were the drinking age. But you were preparing drinks much earlier than that, right?
For me aguas frescas mean having a celebration! When we were kids in Mexico, you celebrated kid’s day in April. But in most of the states, there was Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but no kid’s day! So in my neighborhood, we started one on the last day of April. And it’d be my responsibility to bring cantaloupe fresca.
In what ways do you travels give you ideas for your work?
I once fell in love with an hibiscus tonic in Madrid. I came back home and I was doing a a tequila tonic named after a Juarez newspaper that began during the Civil War… and I was like, man, I got to make this pretty. So I used the hibiscus tonic… You don’t know when you’ll deal those things in your pocket. As long as I experience it, I’ll remember it.
What's helped you become so successful as a mixologist?
I’ve always been an experiential learner. To have that creative muscle working, there’s a constant absorption of your surroundings. I also feel that comes from being an immigrant. That taught me to constantly be influenced by my surroundings. To understand a new place and a new language.
Why do so many people confuse mezcal and tequila?
Just because they come from the same place doesn’t mean they’re the same thing! Mezcal has been around for a very long time. The reason for its popularity lately is individual – and not necessarily related to tequila. It’s because it’s created in a way that really exemplifies the soul of Mexico.
What role does Houston play in what you do?
There’s never a moment lost in Houston where we’re lacking creative influences. It’s very diverse, and also a southern city that welcomes a large amount of diverse culture. My restaurant Julep has a sense of belonging to its environment. It belongs to the south, and also a city that’s very diverse.
You just did an apprenticeship on perfume in Israel? Why perfume?
It has the same basis of craft. And as long as there is a craft involved, my brain is all over it. What I learned from perfume that I was tasting a lot of things without actually drinking them. And that was fascinating to me. I couldn’t let it go. It’s just my love right now.
Explore Upcoming Trips with our Tastemakers
Oaxaca with Justin Bazdarich
Seven days in Oaxaca with award-winning New York chef Justin Bazdarich. From thriving food markets and farm-to-table hands-on cooking experiences to standing atop Zapotec pyramids and immersion into the local arts, this is a Mexican serenade for the senses.
Vietnam with Jason Neroni
Nine days in Vietnam with Chef Jason Neroni. We'll travel from Hanoi and Ha Long Bay to Hue and Hoi An, eating and exploring our way through incredible countryside. Street markets by scooter, the best street foods, modern art and ancient temples, we'll experience Vietnam from every angle.
Portugal with Jamie Malone
Seven days in Portugal with chef Jamie Malone. We'll go deep into Portuguese culture and cuisine: azulejo tiles, Fado music, sparkling wines and vintage ports. Explore taverns and markets, vineyards and farms, and sail through the world’s most gorgeous wine country.