Anvil has consistently been a top bar in Houston. Shortly after it opened years ago, I selected the Pliny’s Tonic one night. It’s been my favorite cocktail ever since. In fact, I’ve asked for this cocktail at other bars around town, and the bartender knew what it was and made it for me! That’s right. It’s famous. I found a couple of recipes online and thought I’d make and tweak. However, I discovered no tweaking was necessary! It tasted exactly like my beloved Pliny’s Tonic! I used Kindred Cocktail’s and Texas Highway’s recipes (they were identical). I also found this recipe from Stay at Home Cocktails, which looks like it’s worth a shot.
I made the Habanero Simple Syrup over the weekend. It was super easy. Don’t be afraid of customized simple syrups. They really do make the cocktail. I was a little worried about finding the Bittermen’s Hellfire Habanero Shrub, but Spec’s came through again. Spec’s also had some cute cocktail glasses (think old school champagne cocktail glass with the wide top) that looked perfect for this. I think they were about $5 each. I wish I had bought a couple.
Hendrick’s Gin is the gin I see most often listed in gin cocktails, and this recipe was no different. Quality, people. The recipe was a little unclear on the amount of lime to use (muddle one quarter of lime or two?), so I went with two. I tried it with only 3 drops of the Hellfire Shrub first, but it definitely needs 4 drops if you go with two quarters of lime. Also, I made two batches of the cocktail. It makes only a tiny bit! A strip of cucumber rind on a cocktail toothpick would have been a cute garnish. As a final note, don’t skimp on the mint!
Definitely check out Anvil if you’re ever in Houston!