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Houston's Gone Out of This World Celebrating Apollo 11

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Mary Helen Johns

Buzz resident Mary Helen Johns enjoys the “Mission Control” cocktail at The Houstonian. The drink was concocted by somelier Vanessa Treviño Boyd. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

There’s always something to celebrate in Houston. But this month, Space City is coming together in a multitude of extra-special ways to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s touch-down on the moon.

Small nods to the “giant leap for mankind” can be seen everywhere from bars to restaurants to art studios to hotels. If you’re in Houston for the next couple of weeks, there’ll be no excuse not to raise a glass or two to NASA, Neil Armstrong and all the folks who have made our galaxy seem the tiniest bit less mysterious.

Tranquility Base

Xochi's "Tranquility Base" cocktail features tequila, Triple Sec and Oaxacan herb liqueur along with poleo-infused "moon rock" ice cubes. (Photo: Paula Murphy)

A few places to take your outer space celebration:

On Thursday, July 11, Eureka Heights Brewing Co. hosts “Trivia from Outer Space.” All the questions will focus on space, and prizes will be space themed. 

On Saturday, July 13, catch the “Out-of-this-world Second Saturday” at Sawyer Yards art studios, featuring space-themed photo ops, projections of the solar system in the old Silos train shed and clips of the moon landing on the historic Riviana Rice silos. 

Mission Control

The Bar at The Houstonian will serve a coffee-smoked cocktail, the "Mission Control," on certain days this month. (Photo: Daniel Ortiz Photography)

On Tuesday, July 16,  Saturday, July 20 and Thursday, July 25 The Bar at The Houstonian will offer “Mission Control,” a coffee-smoked cocktail. 

Buzz’d Aldrin

Loch Bar at River Oaks District will temporarily serve the Buzz’d Aldrin, a cocktail with Brooklyn gin, salted watermelon, lime and Bitterman’s orange citrate. (Photo: Atlas Restaurant Group)

From Monday, July 15 through Saturday, July 20, Loch Bar at River Oaks District is serving the Buzz’d Aldrin, a cocktail with Brooklyn gin, salted watermelon, lime and Bitterman’s orange citrate. 

On Thursday, July 18, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Le Colonial will host a Lunar Landing event benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Expect lunar-themed cocktails and a DJ playing music circa 1969. 

Moon Rock

Xochi's "Moon Rock" dessert celebrates outer space with a chocolate mousse "moon rock" atom chocolate "soil.” (Photo: Paula Murphy) 

All month, Xochi is serving a “Moon Rock” dessert, a chocolate mousse “moon rock” on chocolate “soil,” with caramel-coffee foam, and a “Tranquility Base” cocktail, a tequila-Triple Sec-Oaxacan herb liqueur concoction with poleo-infused “moon rock” ice cubes. Plus, on July 18, Xochi will host an “Apollo 11 Moon Landing Dinner” featuring courses like “The Eagle has Landed,” a crispy hoja santa leaf filled with house-made Oaxacan cheese, mole verde and masa dumplings, and “The Lonliest Man in the Universe Lechon,” slow-cooked suckling pig, huaxmole and coal-roasted sweet potatoes. 

Through August 1, visit “Moon,” a sculpture by Luke Jerram, at Houston Museum of Natural Science. “Moon” is a gigantic, internally lit sphere that hangs from above, showing detailed images of the moon’s surface taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. 


The SkyWaves installation at River Oaks District - a collaboration with the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - will be constructed of some 1,000 flags referencing the American flag that astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong placed on the moon.

River Oaks District and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston have partnered on “SkyWaves,” an art installation created especially for River Oaks District in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Inspired by Mylar space blankets designed by NASA in 1964, each of the four 50-foot SkyWaves quadrants is made of over 1,000 hand-cut flags, referencing the first U.S. flag planted on the moon by astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Produced by local creative studio MATTER, SkyWaves took a team of 15 people over 2,400 hours to build. 

Hamilton Shirts

Hamilton Shirts, the oldest family-owned company in Houston, is bringing back a 60s-era, short sleeved shirt pattern to celebrate Apollo 11's 50th anniversary.

Hamilton Shirts is bringing back a pattern straight from 1969 – a short-sleeved dress shirt with a special seam stitched in the pocket for a pen – that David Hamilton says, “is very characteristic of that time.” The shirt also features a SPACE CITY monogram inside the collar. 

Brennan's has an “Out of this World” menu daily from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., featuring: “Blue Moon BBQ Shrimp,” NOLA-style BBQ shrimp with stone ground goat cheese grits; “Saturn’s Rings,” blue cheese fried onion rings with roasted duck chili; and “Blood Moon Citrus Crudo,” shaved snapper, green chiles, pickled shallots with blood orange citrus vinaigrette. 

Peli Peli in the Galleria is offering a “CR7” cocktail inspired by the Cosmos Redshift 7 galaxy. It features elderflower liqueur, lemon vodka, butterfly pea flower tea and strawberry puree, topped with glitter. Watch as the top of the drink changes color, blue to purple, as it reacts with the acidity of the lemon juice. 

Try the “50th Anniversary Moon Walk” menu at Ouisie's. The prix-fixe menu includes a daily “Soup of Tranquility” and “One Small Salad for Man,” and the cocktail list includes a champagne drink that was actually created for the astronauts in 1969. 

BCK offers “Houston We Have Lift Off!,” a Tang-inspired cocktail with Ketel One and Tang-infused citrus syrup. 

For a Tang-inspired dessert, try the Tang Orange Egg Cream at Kenny and Ziggy's.

Brasserie du Parc next to Discovery Green has a “Blue Moon Eclipse” cocktail with Cognac, Blue Curacao, grenadine and lemon juice. 

The Classic on Washington is offering a special menu featuring riffs on favorites from 1969 like Tang soft serve, Texas 1015 onion dip with goat cheese and Chicken a la King over organic red quinoa.

Man on the Moon

Dessert Gallery is offering this “Man on the Moon” cake in addition to other special treats to celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing. (Photo: Sara Brook)

Dessert Gallery has several moon-themed treats, including gluten-free "Man on the Moon Macaroons" and "Moon Rocks," cake balls that come in four flavors and are decorated to look like lunar material.  

Revolve Kitchen + Bar at the Hotel Derek is offering several space-themed cocktails, among them: “New Moon Fashion” with bourbon and blood orange liqueur; “Apollo’s Affagato” with vanilla ice cream in coffee flavored liqueur; and “Supermoon Sangria.”

Plan a staycation at Hotel Sorella at CITYCENTRE with an “Over the Moon” package, which includes a welcome gift of freeze dried ice cream and a NASA Archives coffee table book. 

Unless otherwise noted, all specials run through July 31.

Editor's Note: For more ideas on how to celebrate the moon anniversary, see this article from ABC13. 

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