Bobby Heugel stumbled upon his talents at an enviably young age, working through college at a bar with a beverage program that emphasized fresh ingredients and an aggressive tequila list. Having discovered a strong, and eventually legal, thirst for the craft of the cocktail, Heugel continued refining his skills while earning his master’s degree in Inter-Cultural Communication (and somehow finding time to launch his now well known blog, Drink Dogma).
In 2006, Heugel returned to his Houston hometown, where he bartended at the popular Benjy’s restaurant and then at Monica Pope’s Beaver’s Ice House, gaining a loyal following for his contemporary take on classic cocktails. Heugel and childhood friend-turned-business partner Kevin Floyd capitalized on that following, opening Anvil Bar & Refuge in March of 2009. Not two years into its run, Anvil began earning national accolades, including a nod as one of Bon Appétit’s “Top Ten New Cocktail Bars” and a 2011 StarChefs.com Rising Stars award for Heugel. In 2012 Heugel partnered with Rising Star Chef Chris Shepherd to open Underbelly, a restaurant that celebrates the diversity of Houston’s culinary landscape and heritage.
And it all happened before he turned 30 (as noted by a spot on Forbes 2011 “30 Under 30” in food and wine). Heugel has that rare mix of creativity, operational know-how, and respect for the craft and history of the American cocktails—all of which he shares in Houston and beyond with cocktail recipes appearing in major publications, including The New York Times, Imbibe, and Bon Appetit magazines.