Down along the Texas Gulf Coast, there is a sprawling, cosmopolitan metropolis known as Houston. Within the downtown district of the 600 square mile city, there is a tire store that has been converted into a bar, that now bears the name Anvil. I have never been to this particular bar, yet I read a very interesting article in the Houston Press yesterday that put this place in one of the top 10 bars in the country that I would like to visit. The staff at Anvil have put together a list of 100 essential beverages(most of them cocktails by definition) that they feel everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. I have tried many of these libations already, but there are numerous of which I’ve never even heard of. Anvil has issued out a card with the full list on the front and back, and every time a customer has partaken in one of these beverages, they cross it off his/her list. Even though I am unable to do this at Anvil, as I do live quite some distance from Houston, I CAN do it myself, and look to do so over a long period of time. For now, let’s look at some of the more interesting concoctions on this list, and some of the ones that I have already experienced.
Absinthe Drip: Check this one off my list. One of the local bars became one of the first in North Carolina to begin serving absinthe after it was legalized last summer. Needless to say, I have imbibed in this modern day, wormwood-neutered commercial absinthe on numerous occasions. The first time I tried the absinthe drip, it was a gag-worthy experience, as the not-so-subtle black licorice aroma and taste nearly overwhelmed me. But after a couple more tries of it, I quickly became enamored with the unique drink, and it definitely ranks on my list of favorite cocktails.
Caipirinha: Micah Hanks wrote an article about this cocktail less than two weeks ago, and as fate would dictate, I happened into a brand new Latin restaurant in town two days later, and saw this on a menu for the first time. Ordered it up, and watch the bartender tentatively set about making it. The bartender was brand new, and this was his first time mixing up the Brazilian beverage. It was also my first time with it, so I had no prior experience to compare it to. As for my opinion on it, I found it comparable to a daiquiri, but sweeter and with a different after taste.
Vesper: The James Bond martini itself, made famous by Ian Fleming in the Casino Royale novel. One of the many side projects that I do, is to take people around the city and tell them mysterious tales about strange history. One of the themed events that I’ve run in the past, was a Secret Agent Martini Tour, coinciding with the Quantum of Solace release. In preparation of this, much time was spent in local martini bars, seeing who could perfect the Vesper recipe. Finally, two bars came through, and I was happy.
Others on the list that I can check off are the Champagne Cocktail, Collins, Cuba Libre(rum and coke), Daiquiri, Gimlet, Gin and Tonic, Manhattan, Margarita, Martinez, Martini, Mint Julep, Mojito, Old Fashioned, and the Zombie.
That makes 17 that I can cross of this list. Oh boy. Only 83 to go. Yet, out of all the lists that I have ever used, I think I may get more satisfaction with this one, than any other.
Next up, I think will be the several cocktails requiring Benedictine, which is not readily available in this area. Fortunately, I have a friend coming in from Europe next week, and I shall be requesting some hard to find ingredients.
I shall keep an update running, and if you are to hammer away at this list yourself, remember… as always, stay classy, stay sophisticated, and stay smart.