Julep: A Celebration of Southern Cocktails & Cuisine

Monday, June 30, 2014

It’s hard to imagine now, but ice was once an incredibly sought-after commodity in the South. In fact, it was an emblem of extreme wealth during most of the 19th century. Ice was not only an ingredient in Southern cocktails, but was also a means by which the upper classes could enjoy fresh shellfish and other seafood far away from the coast.


Fascinated by the history of Southern cocktails and cuisine, Houston mixologist-turned-entrepreneur Alba Huerta is launching Julep—a brand new cocktail lounge devoted to reviving the warmth, hospitality, and drinking culture of the South. Drawing from her formative experience at Anvil and The Pastry War, Huerta developed an extensive menu of historically inspired cocktails and food items, placing a special emphasis on Southern spirits & raw shellfish.

Mixologist & Bar-owner Alba Huerta

Mixologist & Bar-owner Alba Huerta


While the entire experience is centered around sharing Southern heritage, Julep is also unique in that it celebrates the rise of female mixologists and barowners—a notable point of progress from the male-dominated industry of yesteryear. As such, the interior will feature a slightly feminine touch, adding to the nostalgic nuances of copper countertops and an extensive back porch.

Stay tuned to Julep’s website and Facebook for details concerning their opening. And when you visit, be sure to take a look at the custom Hamilton shirts designed for the male staff!

Underbelly Goes “Off the Wall”

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chef Chris Shepherd -chef/owner of Underbelly. (Image: Julie Soefer Photography)

It’s no secret that we are huge fans of local chef Chris Shepherd and his work at Underbelly. And now, we are even more excited to learn about the restaurant’s “Off the Wall” dinners. If you haven’t tried Underbelly yet, this might just be the perfect opportunity.

The people and places around the city that inspire Shepherd. (Image: Julie Soefer Photography)

Building on the restaurant’s mission to tell the story of Houston food, Shepherd recently launched a series of special dinners at Underbelly featuring many of the local chefs who have inspired him along the way. In fact, many of these guests are featured prominently on a special inspiration wall (shown above) in the restaurant, with the hopes of encouraging customers to visit at least one of those locations before returning to Underbelly. But in addition to this literal meaning of “Off the Wall,” the series is also characterized by interesting and innovative set menus that stem from a collaborative cross-pollination between Shepherd and his respective guests.

Underbelly dining room (Image: Julie Soefer Photography)

The next “Off the Wall” dinner will take place on May 18th, and will feature local fish expert PJ Stoops, renowned sommelier Antonio Gianola, and the chefs behind Asia Market. Shepherd explains, “Asia Market is one of my favorite Thai restaurants in the city. Before I opened Underbelly, I spent a week in the kitchen learning from the ladies at Asia Market, and I’ve put so many dishes on the menu inspired by what I learned there. PJ’s knowledge of Thai cuisine and his ability to find and teach me about Thai ingredients make him a perfect fit for this dinner.”

Visit Underbelly’s website to secure your seats or to learn more about the “Off the Wall” dinner series. Also, be sure to keep an eye out during the upcoming James Beard awards to see Chris Shepherd steal the show in his custom suit and Hamilton shirt!

Image credits: Julie Soefer Photography

The Toadies x Martin House Brewing Co. – “Rubberneck Red”

Monday, March 24, 2014

There are certain pairings in life that are inherently magical—good music and great beer being one of the best. And thanks to some folks in Fort Worth, this pairing just got even better.

Texas rock band "The Toadies"

Texas rock band “The Toadies”

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Texas rock band The Toadies partnered up with the masters at Martin House Brewing Co. for a different kind of new release. After a year of testing and tweaking, the band and brew house just unveiled a collaborative limited edition beer, aptly named Rubberneck Red.

Rubberneck Red label (artwork inspired by the original "Rubberneck" album art on the 1994 release)

Rubberneck Red label (artwork inspired by the original “Rubberneck” album art on the 1994 release)

Members of the Toadies taking part in the brewing process

Members of the Toadies taking part in the brewing process

The beer itself is a red ale crafted from caramel and Munich malts, giving it a distinct flavor underneath a serious dose of American hops. But all tasting notes aside, the beer arrived just in time to kick off the band’s much anticipated Rubberneck national tour, featuring six shows around Texas (including a night at the House of Blues here in Houston).

For information about tour dates, be sure to visit the Toadies official website. Rubberneck Red will be available exclusively throughout Texas beginning in April.

Anvil Cocktail Class: American Whiskey

Friday, January 24, 2014


Anvil whiskey cocktails (image: cocktailia)

Many of us are looking forward to kicking back this weekend. But if you’re planning on going out for a drink Saturday (tomorrow!) night, you might consider dropping by The Pasty War a bit early. Between 4-6P, Bobby Heugel, Alba Huerta, and the rest of the team behind Anvil Bar & Refuge will be giving an interactive cocktail class focusing specifically on a single spirit: American whiskey. In addition to learning a number of custom cocktail recipes from the best, attendees will also pick up a bit of history and tasting tips.

Bobby Heugel

Mixologist Bobby Heugel (image: culturemap)

If you’re interested in taking part, tickets are $55 a person and are sold in advance both at Anvil and The Pastry War. And hurry – the class is limited to 60 participants!

January 25, 2014 from 4-6P
The Pastry War
310 Main St. Houston, TX, 77002

- Contributed by Jake Eshelman of Procured Design

Now Open: Hugo Ortega’s “CARACOL”

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Octopus Salad
Ensalada de Pulpo at Caracol

Twenty-fourteen promises to be another great year for Houston foodies, with several great restaurants set to open around town in the coming months. That said, many are already hooked on Caracol – a new restaurant by Hugo Ortega that just opened before the New Year.

Brothers Hugo & Ruben Ortega

Caracol Oysters

Named after the Spanish word for conch or snail, the restaurant specializes in upscale Mexican coastal cuisine. Think Pata de Mula black ceviche, octopus salad, and whole roasted catch of the day as notable highlights. The menu also features a variety of duck, beef, and pork dishes – as well as a custom bar menu created by mixologist Sean Beck.

Caracol is located at 2200 Post Oak, Suite #160 and is open 11A-10P Sun-Thurs and 11A-11P Fri-Sat. ph. 713.622.9996

- Contributed by Jake Eshelman of Procured Design

Blacksmith Coffee In Montrose

Friday, October 18, 2013

There are tons of places to get a good cup of coffee, but our recent obsession is actually one of the newest in town. Having opened in January, Blacksmith on Westheimer is already recognized as one of the best coffee houses in the city, winning the favorite of the My Table Houston Culinary Awards and serving the Best Coffee according to Houston Press.

Blacksmith Coffee

Of course the best measure is to go in and try it out for yourself! If you can, carve out a good chunk of time to sit at their enthusiast’s bar, where baristas will serve a variety of coffees using different beans and brewing methods to highlight nuances in taste.

Blacksmith Interior

In addition to serving hand roasted Greenway coffee, Blacksmith also offers a selection of teas and a limited – albeit wonderful – food menu that includes scratch made biscuits among other bites. It’s also worth mentioning that four of the Blacksmith baristas are currently gearing up to compete in the annual US Barista Championship later this month in Minneapolis. We wish them good luck and all the best up north!

Blacksmith is located at 1018 Westheimer Rd and is open everyday from 7:00A – 5:00P.

- Contributed by Jake Eshelman of Procured Design

Day Trips From Houston

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

One of the nicest aspects about living in Houston is that there is always something going on in and around the city. To celebrate the cooler weather that rolled in over the weekend, we have been thinking of our favorite day-trips to bring in the fall season. Here are three excursions you might consider taking in the coming weeks:

Brazos Bend
45 mi., 47 minutes

01 Baby Gator
Adolescent alligator at Brazos Bend State Park (photo by Jake Eshelman)

Brazos Bend State Park is a great destination for an outdoor getaway. Visitors can take advantage of walking and biking trails that intertwine throughout the 5,000 acres of lakes and live oaks. In addition to fishing, picnicking, and camping, the park is also home to an incredible population of alligators. Now that the days are getting shorter, it’s also worth visiting the George Observatory, which is situated in the middle of Brazos Bend State Park. Be sure to check hours, availability, and admission fees before heading out!

The Spoetzl Brewery
127 mi, 1 hour 58 minutes

02 Spoetzl Brewery Christopher SimpsonSpoetzl Brewery (photo by Christopher Simpson of apprehensioninaustin.wordpress.com)

Of all the Texan traditions that need no introduction, Shiner Beer is at the top. We suggest beating the crowds at Oktoberfest and celebrating early with a visit to the historic Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner proper.  If you can, try to make it down there on a weekday so you can take part in a brewery tour, which start at 11:00A and 1:30P Monday through Friday.

Weekend Two of Austin City Limits
164 mi, 2 hours 37 minutes

03 ACL

Understandably, Austin City Limits is worthy of a two or even three-day trip (depending of course on who’s playing) Given what we’ve heard from this past weekend, the second iteration of ACL beginning this Friday will be nothing short of phenomenal. Tickets are still available for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so get them while they last! Click here to see this weekend’s lineup and schedule.

- Contributed by Jake Eshelman of Procured Design

The Glenlivet “Dram & Discover” Evening of Shirts, Whiskey & Style

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cheers! Last Tuesday evening (3.17.13) the Hamilton Shirt Company hosted an in store event with Glenlivet as part of their “Dram & Discover” series of bringing like minded stylish folks together. Everyone at the event received a behind the scenes tour, had the option to see all our new fall shirts on offer, and taste some really terrific Glenlivet whiskey. The event was a lot of fun and proved to be a great success for both parties. Look for more fall events at Hamilton HQ coming soon – sign up for our email list here (bottom of the web page) to stay in touch. For more information about The Glenlivet “Guardians” events the link to sign up on their website is here.

Houston Style in New York

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A few weeks ago Chef Chris Sheperd from the amazing Houston restaurant Underbelly, sent out a fantastic tweet on his way to The James Beard Awards in New York:

…and from the Underbelly facebook page – some visual proof of Houston representing – Chris Sheperd (center) along with Anvil’s Bobby Heugel (l.) and Ryan (r.):

Thank you Chris for the stellar mention and congratulations on your nomination..we love your restaurant!

Shiner Beer in New York

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

For all you homesick Texans it has recently come to our attention that Shiner Beer is now available in New York City. Starting to pop up in bars and restaurants around the Big Apple, the beer that was the stuff of legend in the northeast has arrived just in time for your summer partying pleasure.