Bartender Chat: Christa "Monster" Havican of Boheme
Welcome to Eating...Our Words' Bartender Chat, in which we sit down with local bartenders and get to know their style. Whether they're slinging beers or mixing complex cocktails, bartenders are our buddies and confidants, but we're turning the tables and the camera on them to find out what they're passionate about and what makes them some of Houston's best.
Photos by Kaitlin Steinberg Christa Monster mixes drinks for a living, but she also paints and bakes a mean pie.
Boheme is gearing up for a Chinese Lantern Festival, traditionally the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations. The official end of the Lunar New Year fell on February 15, but Boheme is drawing the party out just a little longer with the Lantern Festival, which will take place on February 21, beginning at 4 p.m.
For the celebration, bartender Christa Havican has invented two cocktails that use baijiu, a Chinese spirit imported and marketed by a Houston company under the name Byejoe. The spirit, made from red sorghum, is the most widely consumed liquor in the world, and Byejoe was the first company to bring it to the United States. So it's pretty special.
During the Chinese Lantern Festival at Boheme, there will be entertainment, food and two special cocktails featuring Byejoe Red, an 80-proof highly refined baijiu, and Byejoe Dragonfire, which features lychee and chile flavors.
Check out our interview with Havican, as well as her recipe for a Lucky Little Star cocktail featuring Byejoe Red.
What's your last name?
I have two. Monster is what everyone knows me as. But my real last name is Havican: H-A-V as in victory-I-C-A-N. Since I was 14, I did all of my artwork under "Christa Monster." And that's what my name was on Facebook. I run into people who are like, "I didn't even know your last name!" So what I've started doing now, because I am a person and not just my art entity, is made it Christa "Monster" Havican.
How long have you been bartending?
I've been bartending going on about three and a half or four years now. There were some breaks in there. I take steps away from bartending occasionally to make art or feed my baking passion. I mostly do watercolor.
What would you be doing if you weren't bartending?
My two life goals are painting and baking. Eventually I'd like to become a children's-book illustrator or own a pie shop. Most of my art is this wonky cast of characters. Pretty whimsical. A little creepy. I have a show up at MKT Bar right now, but that's some of my more abstract stuff. The show is called "Behind the Bar," so it's influenced by cocktails and my background with classic cocktails.
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