Fred Dexheimer, Master Sommelier, Cocktail Mixologist, Consultant, New York, Juiceman Consulting, Cocktail Recipes, Where to drink cocktails, who is doing interesting things in cocktails, leaders of cocktail industry, cocktail rock stars, where to drink in New York, What to drink


Photo Courtesy of Fred Dexheimer



There are only 106 professionals who have earned the title Master Sommelier in North America. Fred Dexheimer is one of them, having passed the rigorous Master Level Exam in 2007 and becoming the 79th Master Sommelier in the US. His received much of his wine and beverage experience working at top tier restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, Jean Georges, and BLT Restaurant Group.

Fred has now branched out to the art of the cocktail and the craft of beer. As a cocktail consultant, he is working with a number of clients, including Max Brenner, Hyatt, Motorino and is teaching seminars at the Astor Center. If that wasn’t enough, he is also the spokesperson for the Wines of Chile and Wines of Southwest France.


Q. Who are the latest cocktail rock stars?

A. New York

I’m a big fan of the trail blazers, like Julie Reiner of the Flatiron Lounge and Audrey Saunders of the Pegu Club, They were the genesis of the cocktail movement in New York. I think that those two, having those places and being the pioneers, deserve the credit for all of these young mixologists out there.

I like Jim Meehan at PDT. I like his humble approach, his infinite knowledge, and I think he’s done amazing things within the industry to elevate the service and quality of cocktails, and just PDT being what it is has really spawned a lot of really good people.

San Francisco

One guy I like in San Francisco is Duggan McDonnell at Cantina. He works a lot with Latin spirits. He actually just made his own Pisco in Peru from harvest to crush to distillation all the way down the line, including marketing. He’s been on the radar in San Francisco for a long, long time. He’s awesome. Any time I go to San Francisco, I stop in to see him.


In Seattle, Vessel.  Jamie Boudreau’s approach is great. I haven’t met the guy, but I’ve been to his place and his videos are great.


I love what Steve Olson has been doing with aka wine geek, as far as education with a bar program.

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Q. What places can you recommend that have great cocktails, interesting wine list, and delicious food?

A. I think a lot of restaurants don’t always achieve the triumvirate. Part of the reason you don’t get all three is that wine people tend to be focused on wine, bartenders tend to be focused on spirits, and then beer people tend to be focused on beer. 

New York

In New York, Eleven Madison Park. The service of the wine program speaks for itself. John Ragan [wine director] and Daniel Humm [executive chef] have done incredible things, but what people don’t know is that the bar program is top notch. They are making terrific custom craft drinks.

I love what the Frankies guys do. They are serious about spirits, cocktails, and wine. They’re total rough and tumble guys and bohemian in a certain way, but the quality of the food, the atmosphere, and the service is incredible.

Chris Cannon [the owner] also does well with Marea, Convivio, and Alto. If you want a great bottle of wine for $5o,  you can get it at any of his places even though they’re high end.


In Atlanta, Holeman and Finch. They have a great wine, beer and cocktail program. The restaurant is unpretentious, the guys are wearing flannel shirts, they have mustaches, but not like fedora-tattoo-cocktail people, more relaxed. Every night at ten o’clock, they offer 24 burgers. But you have to get there early to reserve your burger. By ten o’clock, they’re sold out. And it’s a rockin’ burger.

Washington, DC

When I go to DC, Proof is great for wine. The sommelier, Sebastian Zutant, has put together a great program. It has cool esoteric wines and if you’re a serious roller and want to spend some money, they have that too. Food is also great.


In Seattle, I like what Spur is doing. They serve excellent farm-driven seasonal food, with a short concise, well-executed menu and their bar program is top notch.


Chicago has a great cocktail bar called The Violet Hour. These guys are top notch, they have incredible cocktails, serious bartenders, and a beautiful room. They really know their stuff.

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Q. There are so many bitters on the market, which do you recommend?

A. I use a lot of Fee Brothers. I like the peach and the rhubarb. With brown spirits, bourbon drinks, even amber and darker rum drink, I use the peach. I find it works with a wide range of flavors. It’s versatile and I just love the flavor.

I’m really fond of the rhubarb bitters for white spirits, like gin. It adds the bitterness, but it also gives it a little bit of a beautiful fruity character too.

There’s also the Bitter Truth, it’s really good stuff. I use a lot more... but these are my two go-to’s.

Q. How about beer?

A. I love Belgian style. That’s my thing. They’re made by monks and these guys have been making beer forever. Flavor wise, they have been doing it for so long that they know what they are doing and the beers are impeccably made.

Belgian Beers

My beer ‘grail’ is Belgian Westmalle Trappist Tripel. It’s 9 percent alcohol, crisp, and fruity.

Saison Dupont farmhouse style ale, which generally comes with a cork and is fermented with 6 percent alcohol, is spicy, fresh, and crisp. I’ll have one of these to start a meal and finish a meal.

Italian Beers

There is a very cool craft beer movement coming out of Italy. Real experimental stuff. A lot of these beers are Belgian-inspired and they’re doing crazy stuff like using tapioca and all different grains, different spices, and they’re virtually rewriting the book. Two of the really cool ones are Birra del Borgo and Le Baladin.

There is also Pausa Cafe. Their headquarters are in the ‘Lorusso e Cotugno’ penitentiary in Turino, Italy. I really like this guy. His stuff kills. Rules don’t apply.

American Beers

I can’t forget to mention what Garrett Oliver is doing as the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery. Garrett is a true student and artist of beer. He travels the world, studies with other brewmasters and he’s rewriting the Oxford Companion to Beer - no slouch gets that task. Aside from the Brooklyn line, he makes special batches about every month or two.

I experiment with a lot of stuff, but when I pick up a 6-pack, I generally go for the stuff that I love. I like that West Coast super hopped up taste. I like to drink Stone IPA and I also love what Dogfish Head does.

Where To Drink Beer

One of my favorite beer bars in the world is The Brickskeller Inn. They have over a thousand bottles, but what I love about it is they have all these old beer cans going back into the 30’s and 40’s. It’s like a museum of beer cans. You could sit in there for hours and just stare at beer cans from different parts of the world.

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Q. What cocktail books are worth checking out?

A. The Diffords Guide out of England is a big book with a good take on what is going on internationally and it’s updated every couple of years. It’s indexed and cross-referenced by spirit, cocktail, rating of cocktail, and includes pictures of every single cocktail.

The Savoy, which is a classic, old school cocktail book that everyone has kind of pulled recipes out of over the last five years, such as the old martini-type cocktails, pre-prohibition stuff.

I really like what Food & Wine puts out every year. It’s a small book, usually on newsstands, has great pictures, and it’s a good book to have on hand.

The Craft of The Cocktail by Dale DeGroff is a must have.

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Q. And aside from consulting with cocktails, anything interesting with wine?

A. I’m working as the spokesperson for wines of Chile and Southwest France.

One of the regions that interest me a lot is Irouléguy, in the foothills of Pyrénées. It’s a small production region, but it offers a little nice value because you get great quality of fruit from the mountain and terraced vineyards all hand-harvested. It’s so far under radar that if you find a bottle, pick it up.



Details of chef Fred Dexheimer’s recommendations on where to drink in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.


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Fred Dexheimer’s recommendations on where to drink in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.