drink dogma » Cocktails http://drinkdogma.com Thu, 31 May 2012 01:01:47 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 TEXAS BARTENDERS BUFFALO TRACE SINGLE-BARREL SELECTIONS http://drinkdogma.com/texas-bartenders-buffalo-trace-single-barrel-selections/ http://drinkdogma.com/texas-bartenders-buffalo-trace-single-barrel-selections/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 06:12:30 +0000 Alex Gregg http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1604 A post from Anvil Bar & Refuge bartenders, Alex Gregg

Sometime last July, while changing a keg in Anvil’s walk-in, I was presented with the chance of a lifetime by my boss and mentor, Bobby Heugel – to go to Kentucky, attend a private barrel tasting and select whiskey to bring back to the state. You may remember, about a year ago, when Bobby and Kevin selected a single barrel to be bottled and shipped to the Houston market. A few of those limited “Anvil Selection” bottles even made their way onto backbars around the city.  What I didn’t realize that day in the walk in, was that this year, the scope of the project had quadrupled, and I would be visiting the historic Buffalo Trace distillery with four of Texas’ leading barmen- Dallas’ Michael Martensen of Cedars Social, San Antonio’s Jeret Peña of Esquire Tavern, Austin’s David Alan of Tipsy Texan and USBG Austin president and Bill Norris of Alamo Drafthouse and the High Ball.  Over the following weeks, details of the trip became clearer, yet I was still unprepared for the life-changing day that lay ahead.

Our group spent the first night exploring “Derby City’s” gastronomic offerings.  The next day we woke early at Louisville’s Hotel 21C, grabbed coffee at the breakfast bar, then hit the road.  Okay full disclosure: they rose early, and I slept in a little, to be awakened by the repeated calls from the front desk.  Yes, I was “that guy.”  The hour or so drive to the distillery gave me plenty of time to clear my head and gather my thoughts as I snapped pictures of the beautiful rolling hills and antique, rust-hued ‘truss’ style bridges that span the valleys.  Upon our arrival at the Nation’s oldest distillery, I was instantly confronted by over two hundred years of bourbon history along with that sweet, chewy aroma provided by the Angel’s share emanating from the aging warehouses that litter the small city of a distillery. (I can still almost taste the air as it was that morning, sitting now, three months later in muggy Houston, in front of my computer).  We were rapidly whisked away on an insider’s tour of the highest order which led us through bonded warehouses, bottling lines, the distillery and on to the “lab” and tasting room.  At the tasting room, we met the guys who, arguably, have the best job in the spirits biz- sit around, taste whiskey all day and get paid for it.  Those same guys let us see what that job was like, as we tasted our way through the prized Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and any and every experimental bourbon that they had on their shelves.  It was quite the palate priming for the tasting that awaited us.

From the lab, we moseyed on over to Bonded Storage BLDG H, where 6 barrels of Buffalo Trace awaited us. These barrels, by the way, were all filled on the same day, aged in the same rick or row, on the same floor, of the same warehouse, for the same length of time, and are in every possible way the same- except for the wood. (That wood by the way, is tightly controlled, meeting Buffalo Traces specific guidelines of being “center ring,” from trees 70 to 80 years old, with a 55 second burn). The glasses were being filled straight from the barrel.  Our strategy, we decided, was to individually work through the tasting silently while taking notes, without discussing our thoughts until we had all finished.   And that’s exactly what we did, but when we finished, the results were astounding.  The group unanimously agreed on barrels I and II as being the all-around best in the room, but that’s where the harmony ceased.  Bill was in love with Barrel III, and did his best to persuade us to enjoy this “delicate old lady of a whiskey,” while Martensen and myself were really digging the versatile balance of barrel IV, and so on.  This part of the selection process was easily the most exhilarating and educational, as we each went back through the whiskeys, scribbling away on our notepads, while engaging in friendly argument.  It was so amazing to see the variance in these whiskeys that were, in every way the same, except for the wood.  Even more dazing, was the distinction in the palates and preferences of the members of the group.

It really brought me back to basics, and perhaps for the first time in my career, firmly hammered those basics down.  Anyone who has ever attended an organized tasting of any sort will remember being told “you taste what you taste… there are no wrong answers, etc…” and anyone who has even slightly read up on whisk(e)y will remember the part about each barrel being unique, thus the need for blending and so on.  Like the many tasters and readers out there, I firmly believed these ideas to be truths, gospel even; I had just never seen them in action quite the way I did that September morning in Kentucky.  I had always accepted that there was some degree of variation from one whiskey barrel to the next, but I had no idea that they could taste like completely different styles altogether, some tasting older, some younger, etc.  For example, if I were to blind taste selections I and II today, I would tell you that selection I was probably a wheated bourbon with ten to twelve years of age and that selection II was definitely a younger rye whiskey in the four to six year range.  Neither of these would be correct (regarding the style and age).  Conversely, any of the members of this group, or any of my coworkers at Anvil, could taste those two expressions, have totally different first impressions and be entirely correct (as to what they actually taste.)

After it was all over, we selected four barrels.  And guess what?  They’re here!  The barrels were individually bottled, divvied up and shipped out to the four participating markets: Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas, and can be found at Anvil Bar & Refuge, Esquire Tavern, The HighBall, and Cedar’s Social respectively. They are also available at the following retailers (listed below).   A few notes from the tasting:

Selection I (barrel 285): Nose full of cinnamon and allspice; creamy buttery body, with soft butterscotch and caramel notes followed by light notes of stone fruit.  Very well balanced.

Selection II (barrel 273)  Caramel, green vegetables and young fruit in the nose; dry, spicy, rye forward and hot through the palate; finishes hot with caramel and toffee notes.

Selection III (barrel274): Tobacco and sawdust on the nose; soft fruit notes raisins and dried apricots augmented by a mellow rye

spice dominate the palate; with a silky, lightly peppery finish.

Selection IV (barrel276): By far the lightest, most delicate of the four.  Notes of brown sugar and honey are intermingled with elegant, subtle spice notes, followed by a gentle and creamy finish.

So stop on by the bar, order a flight and decide for yourself what your favorite expression is.  This juice won’t be around forever and it is the only release I’m familiar with that features near sequential single barrel expressions.  Flights are available and are very reasonably priced.  Cheers!

Houston Wine Merchant
2646 South Shepherd Drive
Houston, TX 77098-1534
(713) 524-3397

Austin Wine Merchant
512 West Sixth Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 499-0512

Dons & Bens
10903 Industry Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78217
(210) 646-9992

Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits
8123 Preston Road
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 361-6697

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ANVIL’S FALL 2011 COCKTAIL MENU http://drinkdogma.com/anvils-fall-2011-cocktail-menu/ http://drinkdogma.com/anvils-fall-2011-cocktail-menu/#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2011 17:01:13 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1607 Everyone knows that fall in Houston is really it’s second summer. That’s why the team here at Anvil worked to put together a menu that continued to embrace the refreshing feel of the summer cocktail but with traditional fall flavors and drinks that emphasize boozier, spirit-forward characteristics. As usual, we kept a couple classics on the menu as well as our house cocktail, The Brave. Here is our current house cocktail menu:

Pliny’s Tonic: Gin, Lime, Cucumber, Mint, Habanero Tincture
Leyden Jar: Genever, Pimms No. 1, Pineau des Charentes, Cane Vinegar, Raisin
The Symposium: Two Old Toms Gins, Bonal, Becherovka, Cherry Heering

Tin Pan Alley: Hazelnut-Infused Bourbon, Lime, Orgeat
McAlpin’s Treason: Blended Scotch, Cocchi Americano, Aperol, St. Germain, Orange Bitters
Smoke & Mirrors: Rye, Fernet Branca, Cacao, Lemon, Black Peppercorn, Egg White

Eve’s Downfall: Nicaraguan Rum, Don’s Spices #2, Lemon, Sage, Apple Cider
Jake Leg: Jamaican & Haitian Rum, Absinthe, Mezcal, Peychaud’s & Angostura Bitters
Italian Bootstrap: Virgin Islands Dark Rum, Cynar, Blanc Vermouth, Thyme-Infused Grappa, Mole Bitters
Grackle: Agricole, Lime, Apricot, House Ginger Beer, Peychaud’s Bitters

El Hechicero- House Tepache, Tequila, Pineapple, Celery Bitters
The Brave- Mezcal, Sotol, Averna, Curacao, Angostura Bitters

Sweet Potato Milk Punch: Applejack, Sweet Potato, Whole Milk, Cream
Bitter Julep: Campari, Gin, Sugar, Mint

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THE SUMMER OF THE SOUTH! http://drinkdogma.com/the-summer-of-the-south/ http://drinkdogma.com/the-summer-of-the-south/#comments Thu, 26 May 2011 02:32:53 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1424

Zydeco Fiddle - Tom Gin, Lemon, Trinity, Apricot Brandy, Celery Bitters, House Ginger Beer (Photo & Cocktail by Anvil Bartender Alex Gregg)

The Summer of the South has officially begun! Last week Anvil launched what is without a doubt the best cocktail project I’ve ever been a part of – an entire menu devoted to the South. That’s right – fourteen new, original cocktails all inspired by Southern history, cooking, flavors, ingredients, and ATTITUDE. Throw in 15 more classics that originated or are extremely popular in the South, and you’ve got one hell’uva compelling argument for revitalizing interest in Southern drinking culture. Check out the entire menu here.

We’ve even had Chris Shepherd, formerly of Catalan, revamp the food menu. Chris will soon have his hands full with Underbelly, the new restaurant we are opening with him down the street next to our beer bar, The Hay Merchant, but for the time being, he’s willing to lend us his distinguished services. Ok…enough salesmanship – straight from the menu, here’s why the menu really kicks ass in my opinion:

“Today’s modern cocktail resurgence tends to emphasize urban speakeasies and Yankee cocktails. Secession anyone? Sure, we admire our Northern colleagues, but it’s about time other drinking cultures get a little respect. Welcome to the Summer of the South: a four-month tribute to Southern inspired cocktails and food.”

The South is full of a rich cocktail history, which, with some exceptions, is largely ignored throughout the country’s cocktail community. Sure, NOLA gets a ton of attention (plenty from us as well throughout the menu), but the cocktail has played a cultural role throughout the entire region. Check out this example:

Rooster Cogburn - Bourbon, India Pale Ale, Lager & Steen's Cane Syrup, Whole Egg with an "Boilermaker" - Optional (Photo & Cocktail by Anvil Bartender Alex Gregg)

The Antebellum Julep – Demerara & Jamaican Rum, Steen’s Molasses, Sassafras, Angostura Bitters, Orka Seed, and Mint

This tasty julep was inspired by the use of okra seeds as a coffee substitute by slaves and, eventually, a greater Southern population. This mixture was often sweetened with molasses and flavored with local sassafras. I was reading about this tradition and just couldn’t resist crafting a cocktail that was a tribute to this rich history. It is an incredible story, and adds such an emotional and narrative component to the menu. When you connect with people in such a manner, it reaffirms why you fell in love with cocktails to begin with. It’s one thing to put out a list of twelve phenomenal cocktails, it’s another thing entirely when they collectively communicate a message. A GREAT COCKTAIL MENU SHOULD BE LIKE AN ADDICTIVE ALBUM – MORE THAN JUST A LIST OF CATCHY SINGLES!

Chuck Taggart, a native New Orleanian, genuine Southern gentleman, and full-fledged cocktail dork, sat at the bar with me the day before the new menu launch and played lab rat. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed serving someone drinks as much as I did Chuck that night. As Chuck tried cocktails, he kept telling me stories about his relatives’ adorations for buttermilk, lit up like a Cajun swamp rabbit on a back country road when he tried the Trinity-flavored Zydeco Fiddle, and predicted the now commonplace slaughtering of the word “Marigny” in the “Marigny Buck”. Conjuring so many personal cultural sentiments simply by serving cocktails was a unique and gratifying experience.

When we opened Anvil, I had never visited another major cocktail bar in the country. I just read as much as I could, knew how to shake a decent drink, and loved making people happy. We’ve always stuck to this basic pattern and continuously try to do better than the day before. After visiting well over 100 cocktail bars since opening our doors, I think the fact that we opened a bar without any preconceptions about what a cocktail bar should be has made us what we are today. I started thinking about this menu idea over a year ago, and I wasn’t sure that it would work. Then, Imbibe Magazine put out an AMAZING issue devoted entirely to the South, and it was so inspiring that I new that I had to go forward with the idea. It was a risky idea – scrapping 90% of the menu including food and going in a very specific direction, but I’ve always been proud of how distinct we are. This menu is just another step in that direction.

Additional Note: Thanks to Alex Gregg for the amazing photographs and the two shown cocktails which are standouts on the menu. Alex – we are so lucky to have you and all of your talents. Anvil has really improved since we added you to the team!

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ANVIL’S SPRING 2011 COCKTAIL MENU http://drinkdogma.com/anvils-spring-2011-cocktail-menu/ http://drinkdogma.com/anvils-spring-2011-cocktail-menu/#comments Thu, 31 Mar 2011 04:18:47 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1304

Spring isn’t really a season in Houston – it just a brief transition. Nevertheless, we are living it up while we can. Below is our current house cocktail menu. I’m very proud of our staff, and I think this is definitely the best menu we’ve put out to date. We kept a couple we couldn’t part with from the last menu, and of course, we will never pull our house cocktail, The Brave, but everything else is new. I’ve got a tendency to only post on this blog when I have a ridiculous amount of information to discuss about a single topic. I don’t know why I don’t just casually post like this anymore. We might just have to fix that – especially if our bartender Alex insists on taking awesome photos of the whole new cocktail menu like the one above. Thanks for the help Alex – you rock! You can view our full menu, including our current featured classics list (there’s a Phil Ward drink on there) at our website here.

RUM SELECTIONS (Definitely Tiki Influenced):

Pete’s Sake – Aged Rum, Peach Brandy, Don’s Spices #2, Lime, Orange
k-38 – White Rum, Mezcal, Lemon, Agave Nectar, Tomatillo, Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
The Ladder of Death – Dark Rum, Aged Rum, Overproof Rum, Lemon, Orange, Pineapple, House Grenadine, Aromatic Bitters

WHISK(E)Y SELECTIONS (For the Diehards):

The Ugly American – Bourbon, Cardamaro, Quina, Orange Bitters
The London Guinea – Scotch, Pimm’s, Lemon, Birch, House Sarsaparilla Bitters
Black Betty – Fenugreek-Infused Rye, Bonal, Italian Bitter, Xocolatl Mole Bitters

GIN SELECTIONS (The Most Diverse Section of the Menu):

The Royal Kris – Gin, Batavia Arrack, Lime, Passion Fruit Syrup, Sriracha, Seltzer
Allenro – Old Tom Gin, Dry Vermouth, Galliano, Orange Flower Water
Maharaja Buck – Cardamom-Infused Gin, Lime, Turmeric, House Tamarin Jam, House Ginger Beer

AGAVE SELECTIONS (Tequila’s Actually in the Minority):

La Soldadera – Sotol, Yellow Chatreuse, Blanc Vermouth, Xocolatl Mole Bitters
Morelos St. – Tequila, Lemon, House Cranberry-Angelica Liqueur, Sage, Tonic
The Brave – Mezcal, Sotol, Averna, Curacao, Aromatic Bitters

OTHER SELECTIONS (By “Other”, We Apparently Mean “Amari”):

Golden Gate Swizzle – Fernet, Falernum, Orgeat, Lemon, Aromatic & Orange Bitters
Bitter Roots – Cynar, Aged Rum, Madeira, Honey, India Pale Ale, Aromatic Bitters

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MUSTARD COCKTAILS http://drinkdogma.com/mustard-cocktails/ http://drinkdogma.com/mustard-cocktails/#comments Thu, 17 Feb 2011 08:47:10 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1252 Another post with photography from veteran Anvil bartender Matt Tanner.

When making a cocktail, sometimes the simplest perspective is an ideal starting point – what do I feel like eating or drinking right freakin’ now??? Don’t force the issue – just give in to those inner cravings. I’m not exactly sure how my most recent cocktail obsession got started, but over the past six or so months, I’ve been treating my cocktails like a hefty portion of bratwurst. I’m a mustard freak, and through even those who profess to hate mustard are liking some of these odd combinations.

Cassis de Dijon

1 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
¾ oz. Crème de Cassis
½ oz. Lemon Juice
1 Barspoon of Turbinado-Based Simple Syrup
½ Barspoon Dijon Mustard

Shake and strain into a highball glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and blackberry.

As the cocktail movement has grown over recent years, interest in atypical ingredients has accelerated. Fat washing, vinegars, and other uncommon cocktails ingredients have teetered carefully on the wall standing boldy between “trendy pr wet dream gimmicks” and “passionate line cook gone bartender” madness. Some have staying power; others are likely to be oddball footnotes in out of print cocktail books…er…blogs. Mustard is certainly no different, but when considering unusual cocktail ingredients, it is always important to consider what classic components an ingredient can offer to a cocktail.

La Mostarda

1 ½ oz. Mustard Seed-Infused Gin
¾ oz. Lime Juice
½ oz. House Grenadine
½ oz. Pomegranate Molasses

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Mustard has a spicy, acidic, vinegar quality that actually shares so much with more common cocktail ingredients like bitters, shrubs, and citrus. Apparently, I’m not the first to think of this either, as there is even a french mustard liqueur already in production. I’ve never had this, but hell, that sure is encouraging!

In all of my experimenting, I’ve found that two major approaches work: infusions and using mustard itself. Infusions that use whole mustard seed are quick and extremely flavorful and typically only take about twenty-four hours to take hold of a spirit. These infusions also play nicely with herbs and other spices, resulting in a more dynamic base for your cocktails. Fresh mustard (we’re talking a bold spicy Dijon here, not French’s) is a little more precarious.

As you might have guessed, there aren’t any ounce proportions in any of my mustard cocktails. Instead, think of the similarities mustard shares with bitters – small amounts with constant attention to balance my friends. Think of making mostarda, an Italian condiment made from candied and mustard syrup. Herbs such as sage, thyme, and basil with lime, lemon, grapefruit juice or peach and apple all work seamlessly.

The Garden Variety

1 ½ oz. Coriander-Infused Tequila
¾ oz. Lime Juice
¾ oz. Honey Syrup
¼ Inch Thick Cucumber Slice
½ Barspoon Spicy Dijon Mustard

Muddle cucumber and with shake other ingredients. Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

This post has probably left you either very curious or doubting the sanity of the staff behind the bar at Anvil. Trust me some of us are definitely insane, but none of that is mustard-related. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll give in to that first curious instinct and try one of these out. To be clear, I’m not saying this is going replace the iconic American hotdog anytime soon, but at the very least, maybe it is a good example of how thinking about ingredients at their core – acidity, spice, etc. – can lead to new cocktail experiences.

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GIN & TONIC – BOBBY’S WEEKLY HOUSTON PRESS COCKTAIL COLUMN http://drinkdogma.com/gin-tonic-bobby%e2%80%99s-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column/ http://drinkdogma.com/gin-tonic-bobby%e2%80%99s-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column/#comments Wed, 14 Jul 2010 19:48:35 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1205 The Gin and Tonic is arguably the world’s favorite highball. This simple combination of botanical gin bliss, bubbly tonic, and a squeeze of fresh citrus is a leisurely, refreshing option that always helps to beat the summer heat. While a staple of the British colonial era, the gin and tonic is actually a relatively new American libation first appearing in bars in the 1930’s. Drinks containing gin and citrus were staples almost a hundred years prior, but we had to wait on what today remains a somewhat elusive American ingredient: quinine. Great G&T’s after all use great tonic water – which is never under any circumstances found guzzling from the sticky mouth of a standard bar gun.

The remainder of this column can be read here at the Houston Press’ website. This is part of an ongoing series of cocktail articles written by Bobby Heugel for the Houston Press. To read prior columns and read more about this series on great cocktails, please refer to this previous post.

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SWIZZLES – BOBBY’S WEEKLY HOUSTON PRESS COCKTAIL COLUMN http://drinkdogma.com/swizzles-bobby%e2%80%99s-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column/ http://drinkdogma.com/swizzles-bobby%e2%80%99s-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column/#comments Fri, 02 Jul 2010 01:16:01 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1175 I know what you’re thinking. And yes, the swizzle does sound like some crazy drink Snoop would have verbally invented at the height of his popularity. After all, it wouldn’t be the first of his concoctions – gin and juice anyone? It’s just too easy to imagine Snoop riding down Santa Monica in drop-top ‘64 Impala with a blunt in one hand and a rum swizzle in the other with Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang blazing from the system. Unfortunately, the swizzle actually pre-dates America’s favorite rapper by a many decades. This all may be very difficult to accept, but trust me it is true. The swizzle is older than Snoop, despite the fact that he is now officially a rapping geriatric.

The remainder of this column can be read here at the Houston Press’ website. This is part of an ongoing series of cocktail articles written by Bobby Heugel for the Houston Press. To read prior columns and read more about this series on great cocktails, please refer to this previous post.

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APEROL – THE VERSATILE ITALIAN APERITIF http://drinkdogma.com/aperol-the-versatile-italian-aperitif/ http://drinkdogma.com/aperol-the-versatile-italian-aperitif/#comments Thu, 24 Jun 2010 16:37:34 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1153 Anvil recently hosted an Aperol showcase at the bar. I was excited about the opportunity to share Aperol with so many folks because, frankly, Aperol is one of my favorite liqueurs. I often describe Aperol to people as Campari-light, but this a flawed and discrediting description. Aperol is an amazing product that, like Campari is bitter, citrusy, and herbal, but its unique flavors seem far more blood orangey and exhibit a noticeable rhubarb presence. Fortunately, Aperol is now more available than ever throughout the US, and we’ve definitely got a few cocktails for you to try.

Aperol was created in 1919, when it debuted at an Italian Trade Fair. Aperol was originally a Barbero brand, but in 2003, it was bought by Grupo Campari. At 11% abv, Aperol is intended to be a flavorful aperitif as opposed to a boozy liqueur. However, despite its low alcohol content, Aperol is an extremely flavorful making it a great cocktail ingredient.

The classic Aperol cocktail is the Aperol Spritz. Simple? Yes. But, damn is this one delicious cocktail. Again, the cocktail isn’t potent by any means, but sipping these on a hot summer day or in the afternoon before a meal will make anyone an Aperol enthusiast.


1.5 oz Aperol
2 oz Sparkling Wine
Splash Soda

Build all ingredients with ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange slice.

Here’s a boozy cocktail from Anvil’s current menu created by Anvil bartender, Aaron Lara. The combination of aperol, gin, and tequila is magical, and the sweetness added by the blanc vermouth perfectly balances the cocktail. I’ll miss this one when it exits the menu on Monday.


1 oz Aperol
.5 oz Beefeater Gin
.5 oz Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila
.5 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. The brands are vital here; don’t treat this as a generic gin, tequila, blanc/bianco vermouth cocktail recipe.

Aperol and St. Germain are a magical combination. To showcase this relationship, I created this simple, tasty aperitif sour that is true to the nature of aperol – light and refreshing without the boozy kick. As written, the cocktail appears sweet, but it is actually very well balanced and makes for a great starter. The pressed rosemary adds a nice aromatic quality that helps tie the cocktail together.


1.5 oz Aperol
.75 oz St. Germain
.75 oz Lime Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a pressed rosemary sprig.

Like myself, Aaron is a huge Aperol fan, and he created the next cocktail with an evangelist perspective. As opposed to the bold and boozy Gringo, Aaron’s Aperol Swizzle is tangy and semi-sweet with significant depth for such a refreshing cocktail. A cocktail for everyone, and one that will definitely help build the Aperol cult. Plus, few drink genres work as well this time of year in Houston better than swizzles.


2 oz Aperol
1 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Gin
1 Barspoon Orgeat
1 Barpsoon Averna Amaro

Build all ingredients with ice in a small collins glass and swizzle until thoroughly mixed and frost forms on outside of the glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

So, I know I started this post out by talking about how Aperol shouldn’t be treated as the bastard child of Campari, but I couldn’t help myself with this last cocktail. One of Anvil’s most popular house cocktails is the Smitten, a cocktail made from gin, Campari, lemon juice, turbinado syrup, and mint. I’ve always enjoyed this cocktail and love that it is simple enough for anyone to make at home or another bar. Recently, not knowing who I was or my affiliation with the drink, a local bartender even offered to make me a Smitten when I was out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. It was such a great feeling; I told the guy I would take his recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed the perfectly crafted cocktail.

All that said, a Smitten made with Aperol instead of Campari is even better! It’s so good that despite its similarity to the original Smitten, it is also going on our new menu which debuts next Monday.


1 oz Gin
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Turbinado Syrup
8-10 Mint Leaves

Combine all ingredients with ice and shake. Fine strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a pressed mint sprig floated on top. If you don’t have turbinado syrup or sugar, a basic simple syrup will suit just fine. To make the original Smitten, follow the exact recipe, but use an ounce of Campari instead of an ounce of Aperol.

Well there you have it – no more excuses for not tinkering that growing Italian import. Aperol is a wonderful aperitif that is finding itself in more cocktail-minded bars every day. God bless those crazy Italians; they sure do bitterly wonderful things!

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THE TOM COLLINS – BOBBY’S WEEKLY HOUSTON PRESS COCKTAIL COLUMN http://drinkdogma.com/bobby%e2%80%99s-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column-%e2%80%93-the-tom-collins/ http://drinkdogma.com/bobby%e2%80%99s-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column-%e2%80%93-the-tom-collins/#comments Thu, 24 Jun 2010 00:22:27 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=1117

The Tom Collins is among the most famous of historical cocktails. Yet despite this widespread notoriety, one glaringly obvious question remains unanswered: Who the hell was Tom Collins anyway? Two competing stories may offer some insight. It seems that the often overlooked Mr. Collins was either a fictitious multi-state libelous scoundrel or a freaking bar cat! Regardless of which perspective is correct, one certainty prevails: the Tom Collins has the most fascinating back-story of any classic cocktail.

The remainder of this column can be read here at the Houston Press’ website. This is part of an ongoing series of cocktail articles written by Bobby Heugel for the Houston Press. To read prior columns and read more about this series on great cocktails, please refer to this previous post.

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THE CORN N’ OIL – BOBBY’S WEEKLY HOUSTON PRESS COCKTAIL COLUMN http://drinkdogma.com/bobbys-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column-the-corn-n-oil/ http://drinkdogma.com/bobbys-weekly-houston-press-cocktail-column-the-corn-n-oil/#comments Wed, 16 Jun 2010 08:51:33 +0000 Bobby Heugel http://drinkdogma.com/?p=986

For weeks, this friendly cocktail column has resisted the urge to write about the Corn N’ Oil. It was tempting, but using the Gulf spill as vehicle for discussing this cocktail seemed far too easy. After all, maintaining this column as a refuge from the daily stream of petroleum press seemed increasingly important as the gulf became saturated with a downpour of incompetence that rivaled the oil seeping from the tanker. Unfortunately, the barrage of Kevin Costner clips, BP CEO “Seriously did he just say that?” moments, and general government apathy from both sides has become too overwhelming. Corn N’ Oil you win. It now seems that retiring to the bedroom in a drunken stupor with a bottle of Cruzan Blackstrap in one hand and a crumbled newspaper clipping of an oil-covered pelican in the other is quite unavoidable.

The remainder of this column can be read here at the Houston Press’ website. This is part of an ongoing series of cocktail articles written by Bobby Heugel for the Houston Press. To read prior columns and read more about this series on great cocktails, please refer to this previous post.

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