Discussions of the state of the U.S. cocktail scene tend to focus on cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and New Orleans, with Austin dominating the Lone Star State chatter.
But in the last 10 years there has been an awakening in the Houston cocktail scene—and with it, Texas on the whole. In 2017, Nico Martini sat down and began writing Texas Cocktails, a beautifully designed book with more than 100 recipes that originated from a list of the who's who of the cocktail world in this great, big state.
Martini has been a big proponent of the craft cocktail scene. He’s on the board for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, and he and his business partner, Adrian Verdin, founded Bar Draught, the world’s first mobile draught cocktail system. He’s even hosted a TEDx talk on the history of cocktails.
“Other than David Alan’s Tipsy Texan, there haven’t been any books highlighting the Texas cocktail scene and I wanted to change that," Martini said. "We have some of the most influential and creative bartenders in the country in Texas and I wanted to provide them with a showcase.”
The book itself is a snapshot of the Texas bartending scene, all while educating the reader on mezcal, how to interpret labels, the use of technology in bars, and even a history lesson on how Texas dealt with Prohibition when it reared its ugly head. It includes recipes for some classic Texas cocktails such as the ranch water, chilton, paloma, and the frozen margarita, as well as some creative concoctions from Houston’s local watering holes including Johnny’s Gold Brick, Anvil Bar and Refuge, and Wooster’s Garden.
If anything, this book should inspire the reader to try to create some of the drinks at home and to check out some new places in this burgeoning craft cocktail scene. Martini will be in Houston on Tuesday, May 29, at Johnny’s Gold Brick from 5–8 p.m. for a Texas Cocktails launch party where you can purchase a book or just sit, imbibe, and talk cocktails.