Recreating an Anvil Original: Pliny’s Tonic

Anvil’s Pliny’s Tonic: gin, lime, mint, cucumber, and habanero tincture.

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 less really is more.

But 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.

The Pliny’s Tonic Recipe

  • Muddle a quartered lime with a lot of mint and a quarter of a cucumber. 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. Go to town with the mint, people!
  • 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.

The Habanero Tincture

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 vodka 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.

4 thoughts on “Recreating an Anvil Original: Pliny’s Tonic”

  1. Have you tried The Forecast at the Beavers? I was curious to know your thoughts on that one since I was hoping to find a recipe similar to that at home. I plan on trying Pliny’s tonic tonight to see if it is close.


  2. Welcome to Stay at Home Cocktails, Lilly Moose and Olive!

    As a correction, I think the habanero tincture may work better with a little vodka in it rather than water.

    Also, I will have to try the Forecast. Habanero vodka, huh? I have a project!

  3. I’m so pleased and intrigued to find you and the delightful concoction from anvil. I will give it a spin! Thank you!

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