Bobby Heugel stumbled upon his talents at an enviably young age, while working at a bar with a beverage program that emphasized fresh ingredients and an aggressive tequila list. Having discovered a strong thirst for the craft, Heugel continued refining his skills while earning his master’s degree in intercultural communication (and somehow finding time to launch the blog, Drink Dogma).


In 2006, Heugel returned to his hometown, Houston, where he tended bar at the popular Benjy’s and then at Monica Pope’s Beaver’s Ice House. Heugel and childhood friend-turned-business partner Kevin Floyd capitalized on that following, opening Anvil Bar and Refuge in 2009. Anvil soon began earning national accolades, including a nod as one of Bon Appétit’s “Top Ten New Cocktail Bars.” Heugel also earned a 2011 StarChefs Rising Stars Award and a spot on Forbes “30 under 30” list. In 2012, Heugel partnered with fellow Rising Star, Chef Chris Shepherd, to open Underbelly, a restaurant that celebrates the diversity of Houston’s culinary landscape.

Over the next five years, Heugel was involved in the openings of Nightingale Room, The Pastry War, and The Hay Merchant. He also established an independent restaurant and bar advocacy group, O.K.R.A. in 2012 and led the team in opening the OKRA Charity Saloon, which has since donated over $1.3 million to local charity organizations. Now, as founder of Thorough Fare Restaurant Group, alongside business partner Justin Yu, Heugal has continued to grow his business portfolio with restaurant openings such as Theodore Rex, Better Luck Tomorrow, and Squabble. His commitment to training, quality, and hospitality in various endeavors has earned nearly 20 James Beard Award nominations. Heugel has that rare mix of creativity, operational expertise, and respect for the craft—all of which he shares in Houston and beyond.


Cantaloupe de Lupe
Bartender Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar & Refuge | Houston


Seeded Cantaloupe Purée:
1 cantaloupe, skin removed
Cantaloupe Cream:
6 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces cantaloupe juice
3 ounces orgeat syrup

To Assemble and Serve:
Yield: 1 cocktail
2 ounces blanco tequila
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce agave nectar
Chia seeds
Cantaloupe balls or cubes

For the Seeded Cantaloupe Purée:

Cut cantaloupe into smaller pieces without removing the seeds and inner core. Separate pieces with more seeds than the others, then place in a Vitamix blender. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Add the remaining cantaloupe and continue to blend on high speed until fully integrated. Fine strain through a metal conical strainer. Reserve.

For the Cantaloupe Cream:

In a Vitamix blender, combine all ingredients. Blend on high speed until it reaches a whipped cream consistency. For a more classic swirled look, blend on low speed until smooth, then transfer to a whipped cream dispenser and charge. Reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lemon juice, agave nectar, and 1 ounce Seeded Cantaloupe Purée. Add ice. Shake, then strain into a rocks glass with ice. Top with Cantaloupe Cream. Dust with chia seeds. Skewer cantaloupe with a cocktail pick, then place on the glass to garnish.


Hibiscus Holiday
Bartender Bobby Heugel of Anvil Bar & Refuge | Houston


Hibiscus Ice Cubes:
90 grams dried hibiscus flowers

Raspberry-Cinnamon Syrup:
1 cup raspberries
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 sticks cinnamon

To Assemble and Serve:
Yield: 1 serving
1 ½ ounces lemon juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
Fresh raspberries
1 dried hibiscus flower


For the Hibiscus Ice Cubes:
In a large pot, bring 12 cups water to a boil. Add hibiscus, reduce heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 10 minutes. Strain out the hibiscus. Let tea cool to room temperature. Pour tea into ice trays. Freeze overnight or until completely frozen.

For the Raspberry Cinnamon Syrup:
In a Vitamix blender, combine raspberries, sugar, lemon, and 1 cup water. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a pot over medium heat and add cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then continue boiling 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pass through a fine mesh strainer into a nonreactive container or bottle. Refrigerate.

To Assemble and Serve:
In a Vitamix blender, crush 1½ cups Hibiscus Ice Cubes. Add lemon juice, orange juice, sugar, and 1 ounce Raspberry-Cinnamon Syrup. On high speed, blend until smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness and acid as desired. Pour into a glass, then garnish with raspberries, dried hibiscus, and mint.


Content and recipes developed in partnership with Bobby HeugelStarChefs and Vitamix Commercial.