Two of the city's best cocktail minds have teamed up to help Houstonians drink better. Alba Huerta and Luis Villegas have opened Ready to Drink Cocktail Market, a retail pop-up devoted to cocktails, cocktail accessories, and other treats for spirit lovers.
Huerta converted a storage space at Julep, her Southern-inspired cocktail bar on Washington Avenue, into Ready to Drink. The shop provides a semi-permanent home for the bottled cocktails Julep sold before it reopened for dine-in service.
Shoppers will find 100 bottled cocktails in ready-to-drink form — simply pour over ice and enjoy. The selection includes classics like the Negroni, martini, and Old Fashioned, as well as house originals like the Cherry Bounce Sour, all of which are guaranteed fresh for three weeks or more. Most are sold in either 375-ml or 750-ml bottles, but popular options like the margarita are available in half-gallon and gallon sizes, too.
In addition to its bottled concoctions, Ready to Drink stocks craft ice — think oversized, crystal-clear cubes — from Villegas' Big Ice HTX, cocktail accessories like bar tools and glassware, and books such as Huerta's own Julep: Southern Cocktails Refashioned.
“Ice is one of the most important elements in a cocktail,” Villegas said in a statement. “Alba and I are partnering on this cocktail market so our guests can create cocktails correctly at home from glassware to garnishes, so, of course, we couldn’t leave out ice!”
Shoppers will also find snacks such as Prosecco gummies, whiskey-flavored popcorn, mimosa lollipops, and boozy ice creams, as well as bottles of wine and cans of White Claw and other brewed beverages.
Ready to Drink is a pop-up that will last for at least three months. The search for a permanent home is underway.
“The pandemic forced us to get creative in so many ways,” Huerta added. “The idea of a pop-up shop was a great way for us to create an alternative revenue stream during a time when bars were closed, and now that we’ve reopened, this shop complements what we’re doing inside the bar at Julep so beautifully."