the Brave

You may never have had a cocktail quite like “the Brave,” which is served at the superb Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston, TX.  It’s the creating of co-owner and head bartender Bobby Heugel and it’s perhaps the most unusual cocktail on Anvil’s menu, one Bobby recommends people work their way up to, and which he describes as their most “intense.”

The Brave

the Brave
(by Bobby Heugel, Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston TX)

1 ounce Del Maguey Chichicapa Single Village Mezcal.
1 ounce Hacienda de Chihuahua Plata Sotol.
1/2 ounce Averna.
1 barspoon orange Curação.
3 dashes Angostura bitters.

Combine all ingredients in a large wine glass and swirl to combine. Garnish with a flamed orange peel and serve at room temperature. NO ICE.

Yep, you heard me. Room temperature. No ice. No chill, no dilution. Talk about intense. And it was … intensely delicious. Very, very unusual, and Bobby said he’d recently been fascinated with the idea of room temperature cocktails.

I absolutely adore all the Del Maguey mezcals, but I had never tried sotol before. It’s made from a wild plant native to Chihuahua, Mexico, called the “desert spoon,” or Dasylirion wheeleri, or simply the sotol plant, a relative of the blue agave. It’s really good, and very interesting stuff — smooth, herbal, a bit grassy and a bit smoky. I didn’t taste much of it on its own, but as of today I have my own bottle (Hacienda de Chihuahua is the brand, and they make a plata, reposado and añejo as with tequila). The smokiness of the mezcal, the herbal qualities of the sotol, the bitterness of the amaro … plus the wine glass increases the bouquet tremendously. Just a knockout.

UPDATE: It seems this may now be Anvil’s signature cocktail — in a recent Twitter post, Bobby promised he’d never take it off the menu.