HOUSTON – Mixologist, Alexa Braswell has worked abroad in Austrailia and has brought her knowledge back to Houston to create unique cocktails you can enjoy at Le Colonial. Find out her inspiration behind the popular drinks and even her go-to ingredients to always be stocked up on.
Q: Where have you worked abroad?
A: I worked in a very busy and prestigious bar in Byron Bay, Australia, called the Byron Bay Beach Hotel. The bar was in the center of the city and it was a huge deal to work there because mostly locals were able to get a job at this location. I became lead bartender and trainer and it was very cool to be able to combine my knowledge from America with that of the rich culture of Australians. I also worked in an authentic Mexican restaurant called Mammacita's, located across from the Beach Hotel. It was at Mammacita’s where I practiced making syrups, utilizing local fruit and herbs for cocktails, and make everything fresh daily.
Q: What as your favorite thing about working in Australia?
A: In all honesty I got to utilize the land, and all of the beautiful produce and herbs to really expand my creative mind as a mixologist. Not only that, but the people around me were so ready to soak up my knowledge and I was eager to learn anything I could from them, too. The people, the quality of produce and herbs, the overall atmosphere of working in such a beautiful place really impacted me in the best ways.
Q: How does your experience abroad inspire your cocktail recipes?
A: Working in Australia, and in such a small town, you really learn how to use everything around you to your advantage and not waste anything at all. I learned to not be wasteful of anything. From items I thought to be waste, I learned to create something new. Now I look at things closer and try and figure out how I can utilize the skin of fruit, the stems of herbs, the seeds of fruits and vegetables, etc. It’s really amazing how many ways we can create beautiful additions to cocktails by simply opening up our own refrigerators and using our creative mind. My creativity expanded vastly form being around such a bountiful place.
Q: What inspires you most in your mixology?
A: I get inspired by seasons, places I have been to in Houston and in and out of the country. I am inspired by exquisite food, my family, and any flavors around me that make my taste buds jump. Anything can be used in a cocktail. I think it’s fun to play around with spices and unique fruits to deliver something people have never tried.
Q: What is your favorite part of working in the hospitality industry?
A: I love to meet people, provide great service, expand my knowledge, be a team leader and create beautiful cocktails for guests every day. I love providing the quality and care to guests that I would expect at any restaurant or establishment that I visit. The best part is seeing guests leave extremely happy and seeing them come back for more.
Q: What is your favorite drink to make?
A: My favorite cocktail to make would have to be my signature cocktail, named after each patron who asks me for it.
• 2 0z Vodka
• 6 leaves of mint
• 2 leaves of basil
• 3 cucumber slices(muddled)
• .5 oz lemon juice
• .5oz lime juice
• . 5 oz simple syrup
The drink is shaken thoroughly and served double strained in a freezing martini glass. Hands down my favorite cocktail to make and drink myself.
Q: What drew you to Le Colonial
A: From the amazing location, to the attention to detail in food, cocktails, and décor, I noticed the fresh new style that the restaurant as a whole added to Houston. It is not often that you find a restaurant with two concepts in one. The design, the menu, the staff, and the ambience are like nothing you can find in Houston. I think Le Colonial is truly one of a kind.
Q: What are your must-have ingredients and tools for your bar cart?
A: It would have to be the following;
• Fresh juice and produce
• Shakers, double strainers, mixing spoons, proper glassware for each cocktail (Collins glasses, Martinis, rocks glasses etc.)
• Wine key or bar tool
• A black linen for any champagne or wine bottles being opened
Q: What are your favorite drinks in the summer?
A: My favorite drinks in the summer would have to be rose, any fresh and icy sangria that is full of fresh fruit and mint, or a refreshing cocktail made with cucumber, basil and mint. Those are my absolute favorites for crisp, cold and refreshing cocktails to escape the summer heat.
Q: What are the most unexpected things that elevate any drink?
A: I think I will find that most herbs and spices elevate a drink. They can be manipulated in so many ways, whether they be incorporated in syrups, purees, or infused in spirits. Spices like tamarind, cardamom, star of anise are all things that are unique to Le Colonial and make our drinks stand out. There are so many items that you would think are only isolated to cooking that we can use in cocktails that really make a huge difference in flavor.
To connect with Alexa, click here or for her 3 summer sip recipes to help you beat the Houston heat, watch the Youtube clip below.