Bartender Chat: Mindy Kucan of Anvil Bar & Refuge

Mindy Kucan, who was named Best Bartender in the 2010 Best of Houston® issue of the Press, used to commute to Houston for her shifts at Anvil. "I'm originally from Houston, but had moved to Austin to bartend at the Hilton. Then I got the job at Anvil in November of 2009, and I would commute once a week down to Houston to bartend." Kucan would tweet to her followers when she was going to be at Anvil, and they would flock to the bar to see her.

Kucan has won numerous contests and worked with some of the most well-known and -respected names in the business. She is proud to be a female bartender in the 21st century and is enjoying the accolades she receives in a male-dominated industry. " Years ago, women didn't even really go to bars, much less make the cocktails. And here I am, a female working in a very masculine bar, getting to do what I love." Let's hear it for girl power.

Kucan mixed me an old favorite from the menu, the Diamond Fizz, which is a mouthwateringly delicious blend of gin, St. Germain, Crème de Violette, lemon, and egg white, all topped off with a bit of bubbly. It was flowery, light, and refreshing. I also tried one of her upcoming winter cocktails, which is a warming combination of rye whiskey, Aperol, turbinado syrup, Allspice Dram and bitters. It's called "Winston," after her grandfather, who used to make his own cherry, rye, and rock candy infusions and hand them out as gifts at Christmas.

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