With Cocktail Curations, Thy Parra and Nicole Hassoun are pouring style into every zero-proof sip.
Cocktail Curations’ Rose Mallow, Summer Thyme Heat and Brand Me Baby
Thy Parra and Nicole Hassoun have a combined energy that fizzes like your favorite glass of Champagne. It’s a meeting of the spirits that began years ago, when Parra—a former chef, luxury event planner, and catering and events director—contracted Hassoun, a craft bartending expert, as a gin specialist and mixologist. Their careers kept them together (even working at the same DC distillery). “We’ve been working together in every way possible, so it’s about time we followed our dreams,” says Parra. Enter Cocktail Curations (price upon request, cocktailcurations.com). It crafts cocktail soirees for private and corporate events—with both alcoholic and zero-proof concoctions. Shaking things up? Taste their proof.
Nicole Hassoun (left), with co-creator Thy Parra, dreams of making their sweet nectar at a Grammys afterparty.
Tell us about the creation process.
NH: I always say that I create out of hunger. We love to approach beverages as if we are cooking: finding fresh local ingredients, outstanding spirits, beautiful botanicals and spices to create something delicious. This forces us to learn new techniques and incorporate flavors to create something unique. We are able to play off of each other’s creativity to create a cocktail experience like none other.
Why do you think zero-proof cocktails are on the rise?
TP: We, as humans, [are living] longer, and we want to maximize our quality of life. This means making good decisions, which include the amount of alcohol intake. We all love to eat and drink well, but want to treat our bodies well. Zero-proof cocktails allow us to enjoy the balance.
Do you have a favorite creation thus far?
NH: Our Botanical Waters are distilled with citrus, herbs from my own garden, and botanicals to give flavor and depth, similar to great gins, but without any alcohol or sugar. Thy and I love creating the same delicate nuances as in a beautiful spirit and being able to share them with drinkers and nondrinkers alike.
TP: We love creating experiential bars because it allows us to engage with guests. Flavor profiles differ from person to person, and we enjoy curating the right cocktail for each individual.
Garnishes gild the lily
But they’re very stylish—no matter what.
TP: Yes! In many ways, we offer cocktail couture. Our designs are your personal preference and style.
NH: It depends on what we consider to be fashion-forward. We love to pair our cocktails with current events and pop culture, but it’s not really about what’s trendy. I love simplicity in fashion; I love a vintage Chanel suit; and I love a timeless cocktail.
Share your top tips for hosting a cocktail party.
TP: Spruce your cocktails up with pretty garnishes. My friends call me ‘fancy’ when I make them a cocktail at home. It’s truly not anything complicated, but I like to take the extra step.
NH: Entertaining should be enjoyable. Make at least one cocktail the night before the party. About one hour before guests arrive, pour the premade cocktail into a punch bowl so they have something to drink as soon as they walk in, and so can you.
Photography by: abby jiu photography