James Beard Award-Winning bar owner shares refreshing cocktail recipe

Alba Huerta, owner of Julep, was honored at the annual James Beard Awards and won for Outstanding Bar Program

Julep owner Alba Huerta dishes about her James Beard Award win and how living in Houston made it possible as she makes a refreshing hibiscus-infused cocktail for Courtney and Derrick.

Houston – It’s the summer time and what better way to cool off than with a refreshing hibiscus-infused cocktail? Alba Huerta owns the bar Julep. She was honored in June at the annual James Beard Awards and won for Outstanding Bar Program. Julep is now the city’s first-ever national James Beard Award recipient.

On Houston Life, she shared the recipe for a cocktail called ‘The Morning Call.’ “It’s a margarita riff with tonic, and it makes a great drink during the summer,” Huerta said on Houston Life. “It’s a good morning call after these long hot days.”

The Morning Call

Here is the ingredient list. You can serve this drink in a Collins Glass, using 1 1/4 inch ice cubes.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Tequila Ocho blanco
  • 2 bar spoons mezcal
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Hibiscus-infused tonic for topping off
  • 1 fresh hibiscus flower for garnish
  • 1 lime wedge for garnish


Fill the glass with ice cubes. Pour the tequila, mezcal, agave, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake vigorously 20 times. Strain into the glass. Top off with tonic. To garnish, fish a cocktail pick through the hibiscus flower and lime wedge and place of the glass rim.

To make the Hibiscus Tonic:

  • 1/2 cup fried hibiscus flowers
  • 2 (1/2-liter) bottles tonic water, such as Fever Tree

Place the hibiscus flowers in a bowl or 2-liter glass measuring cup. Pour the tonic over the flowers. Cover loosely and let stand for 20 minutes. Strain the tonic through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, into a 1-liter soda siphon. Reserve the flowers for the garnish. Close the siphon and load it with a CO2 cartridge. Shake the siphon several times to charge.