Anvil is the best place in Houston bar none. Their drink menu is continually evolving, and everything they make is probably the best version of a drink you will ever have.
The drink that has stuck with me is the Pliny's Tonic, and it's no coincidence that it has been written about by several people. The new menu was featured on Alcademics recently, and the specific drink was described by Food Princess and then by B.Rox. Here is what it says on the menu:
Gin, lime, mint, and habanero tincture, this Anvil cult classic proves that sometimes lessBut that description doesn't say it all. Here's how I recreated it. It may not be quite as good, but it's still one of the best cocktails I have ever had.
really is more.
Don't be afraid of the habaneros. Sure, wear gloves when you cut them (I don't, but some people can't stand it), but just make sure that you remove all of the seeds and husks. Then process them with a bit of water in a food processor until they are ground completely fine. Also make sure that you put the tincture in the glass first. I tried sprinkling the tincture on top of the drink, but that didn't work. The habaneros simply sank to the bottom. For some reason, when you put the tincture in the glass first, most of it floats, and you get a nice bit of spice with every sip.
- Muddle a quartered lime with a lot of mint. Anvil doesn't skimp on the mint and we shouldn't either. I put several large stalks, nearly enough to fill up the mixing glass.
- Add 1/2 oz lime juice. My limes aren't juicy enough, so I beef up on the lime juice.
- Add 2 oz good gin.
- Add 1/2 oz simple syrup.
- Shake well with ice.
- Place a tad habanero tincture in a cocktail glass.
- Strain the cocktail over the habanero tincture.
Update on the Pliny's Tonic
I was at Anvil a couple of weeks ago, and had the Pliny's Tonic again. I realized that I was missing something: cucumber. Muddle a couple of chunks of cucumber with the mint, and you will have it right. Makes it much more refreshing and changes it from a sour version to something more substantial. Enjoy.