My Top 5: Julep Owner Alba Huerta

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Photo credit: Julie Soefer

My Top 5” highlights enterprising and notable Houstonians who are making things happen in our phenomenal city. This week, we’re very pleased to showcase Alba Huerta, who opened southern cocktail bar Julep near Downtown on Washington this past weekend. 

My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston

by Alba Huerta

  1. The Menil Collection – It’s so close to where I live and work.  I can bike or walk there so it’s really accessible—it can be my “coffee break.” Then I discovered they have Ken Price—all the Del Maguey bottles have Ken Price art on them, so I have a connection. It’s my escape.
  2. Bikram Hot Yoga on South Boulevard – I’ve been going there for at least a decade. It’s home.  It’s one of those places that doesn’t change, and there is something very comfortable about that. Yoga heals any stress I put on my body from bartending and it helps me put things into perspective.
  3. El Meson in Rice Village – It’s my favorite place to eat on Sundays. I worked for Pedro Garcia, the owner, more than a decade ago.  He just became family—he taught me how to be a restaurateur and a bartender. The business has been operating for more than three decades, and he and Regina are incredible people. They’re a great example of how I want to live my life and great role models.
  4. Urban Harvest Farmers Market – I’ve been developing cocktails for Julep, and I’ve been going to the farmers market often to see what’s in season and creating relationships with farmers. I love running into people there—there’s such a sense of community. I buy all my flowers for my house there—there’s always a great selection.
  5. Underbelly Butcher Shop – I wanted to learn how to harvest ice, and I heard they have similar tools so I decided best way to learn how was to learn how to butcher, since I don’t have anyone in town who harvests ice. I spent a lot of time with both Peter Jahnke (Underbelly’s first butcher) and Javi Salvador (Underbelly’s butcher). But later realized I really enjoy butchering! The restaurant is so busy now that I don’t get to practice as often as I’d like, but sometimes now I’ll stop by and hang out and watch Javi and learn something new.

About Alba Huerta

Named Imbibe magazine’s Bartender of the Year in 2014, Alba describes her bar Julep as the culmination of her 14-year career as a bartender. A Houston bartending veteran at the age of 34, she developed her love affair for fine spirits—especially whiskey and agave spirits—early on and honed her skills and knowledge as the Clumsy Butcher bar director and through her relationship with the Southern Foodways Alliance. Alba was inducted into Tales of the Cocktail’s Dames Hall of Fame in 2012 and remains  a strong advocate for women in the industry.