this party was shook

Hip Houstonians and masterful mixmasters shake it up at Hotel ZaZa's cocktail showdown

Hip Houstonians and mixmasters shake it at summer cocktail showdown

ZaZa Cocktail Showdown
Bartenders and fans smile for the camera. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Christina Moria, Garrett Vergoon, Kimberley Hendrick
Christina Moria, Garret Vergoon, and Kimberley Hendrick. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Arturo Jimenez, Ryan Perry, Zach Churbok, Patrick Abalos, Jonathan Gallardo
Competitors Arturo Jimenez, Ryan Perry, Zach Churbok, Patrick Abalos, and Jonathan Gallardo. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Robby Cook Steven Devadanam Megha Tejpal Jacob Weaver
Judges Robby Cook, Steven Devadanam, and Megha Tejpal share a toast with ZaZa chef Jacob Weaver. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Casandra Hernandez, Roel Garza
Casandra Hernandez and Roel Garza. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Lauren Casey, Jack Merino
Lauren Casey and Jack Merino. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Jahmal Clemons, Carmen Carey
Jahmal Clemons and Carmen Carey. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Shawn Kesterson, Mayra Isais, Colin Eddington, Mariela Eddington
Shawn Kesterson, Mayra Isais, Colin and Mariela Eddington. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Arturo Jimenez
Arturo Jimenez prepares his winning cocktail. Photo by Jacob Power
El Navegente cocktail
Arturo Jimenez's winning cocktail, the El Navegente. Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown watermelon bites
Watermelon bites offered refreshment.  Photo by Jacob Power
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Christina Moria, Garrett Vergoon, Kimberley Hendrick
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Arturo Jimenez, Ryan Perry, Zach Churbok, Patrick Abalos, Jonathan Gallardo
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Robby Cook Steven Devadanam Megha Tejpal Jacob Weaver
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Casandra Hernandez, Roel Garza
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Lauren Casey, Jack Merino
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Jahmal Clemons, Carmen Carey
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Shawn Kesterson, Mayra Isais, Colin Eddington, Mariela Eddington
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown Arturo Jimenez
El Navegente cocktail
ZaZa Cocktail Showdown watermelon bites

Sultry summer nights call for cool sips, and the Summer Cocktail Showdown at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City certainly shook things up. Some of Houston’s best bartenders mixed, muddled, and poured a selection of hand-crafted cocktails made with an assortment of Diageo liquors at a poolside fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank.

The soiree drew a stylish crowd of 150 who sipped cocktails and noshed on bites created by chef Jacob Weaver, Hotel ZaZa’s corporate director of food and beverages. Weaver’s menu paired with each of the evening’s cocktails for a complete culinary experience. The chef’s menu included compressed watermelon with Tajin, crème fraiche, red onion and herb dip, yuzu and honeydew skewers, coconut shrimp with a creamy avocado drizzle, and pork belly with pineapple curd.

The evening’s mixmasters and creations were Blend Bar’s Arturo Jimenez (the El Navegente with Ketel 1), Presidio’s Ryan Perry (the Esta Machin with Tanqueray 10), Southbank’s Zach Churbok (the Rye 75 with Bulliet Rye), South Bank’s Patrick Abalos (The Respite with Ciroc Pineapple), and Prohibition’s Jonathan Gallardo (the Zacapa Solera with Zacapa Rum). Guests were encouraged to vote for their favorite drink of the evening, crowning Patrick Abalos — from South Bank — as the audience favorite.

The overall winning cocktail of the night was chosen by a cadre of judges known for their culinary good taste. CultureMap editor Steven Devadanam, food writer and influencer Megha Tejpal, and United States Bartenders Guild and Houston chapter president Robby Cook sipped through the five offerings. The judges declared Jimenez’s El Navegente the winner. 

CultureMap Houston hosted the Summer Cocktail Showdown with Hotel ZaZa Memorial City. The lively event raised $2,000 and all proceeds will directly benefit the Houston Food Bank.