Bittermens, Bitters, Cocktails, Xocolatl Mole, Hopped Grapefruit, ‘Elemakule Tiki, Boston Bittahs, Burlesque, Brooklyn, East Village, Amor Y Amargo, Ravi DeRossi, Cienfeugos, New York, Manhattan, NY, How To Make a Cocktail, Cocktail Ingredients, Recommendations, Jim Meehan, PDT, Best Bitters for Cocktails, cocktail recommendations


Recommended By

- Jim Meehan, mixologist and managing partner of PDT


Avery and Janet’s recommendations for cocktail resources and their favorite restaurants and cocktail places in New York, Boston, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Barcelona, and Madrid.

Q & A


Q & A With Bittermens

Q. With so many bitters on the market these days, can you tell us about how Bittermens came about ?

A. Bittermens came about purely by chance. When we were living in San Francisco, some local bartenders were invited by a San Francisco gin distillery to a tasting, and during the tasting they each had an opportunity to make a batch of bitters. The bar manager of a local bar, where we were regulars, invited us to come along and asked if we wanted to try making bitters. We came up with the idea of the Xocolatl Mole, though we had no idea if it would even work. That was in 2007 – and we’ve been making bitters ever since.

Q. What are the differences from the more traditional bitters such as Angostura and Peychaud’s and how do you recommend using Bittermens versus the more traditional brands?

A. Every formulation of every bitter is different – Angostura is as different to Peychaud’s as Peychaud’s is to our Xocolatl Mole Bitters. What is similar is that we try to make our bitters as bitter as these classic bitters. So, if you use a dash of Angostura in your Manhattan, switching out an equal amount of Xocolatl Mole Bitters will bitter it in the same way, but provide very different top notes.

Q. How do you source your ingredients and what are important factors in your sourcing?

A. We search out providers who can provide consistent products. Every time we buy hops, for example, they need to taste the same for us to produce a consistent flavor profile for our bitters. 

Q. What are some of your favorite mixing suggestions for the Xocolatl Mole Bitters?

A. For the Xocolatl Mole Bitters, try playing with Sazerac variants and Manhattan variants to start with. The Latin Quarter and The Conference are two of our favorites.

[See recipes.]

Q. You have many other flavors. What are some bitters/ spirits pairings that work well with your products?

A. - Hopped Grapefruit: gin.

- Tiki: rum, tiki drinks and hot drinks.

- Boston Bittahs: gin, pisco, scotch.

- Burlesque: Amaros, vermouths, pisco, Genever, tequila.



Q. What are you favorite cocktail resources (websites/newsletters/ publications)?

A. Ardent Spirits, a free e-newsletter put together by Gary Regan is a very good resource covering just about everything industry-related, including spirits, bars, bartenders, books, and websites.

Imbibe Magazine contains a wealth of information, not only about cocktails and cocktail culture, but also beer, wine and coffee.

Class Magazine is tailored to the British bar scene and a good way to keep tabs on what is happening in the UK.

[See details.]

Q. Are there cocktail books you can recommend?

A. All of Beachbum Berry’s books are the bibles for modern Tiki.

Rogue Cocktails, a modern cocktail guide, published by bartenders Kirk Estopinal and Maks Pazuniak, is a great little book that we find ourselves referring to often. Unfortunately, it is now defunct and no longer available for purchase, but you can find all of the recipes in Beta Cocktails, which is the successor to Rogue Cocktails.

[See details.]

Q. What is the most interesting or useful tool/gadget that you’ve come across recently that you were impressed by?

A. We use our PUG! muddler to not only muddle, but also crack cardamom, crack ice, and even make guacamole! Each PUG! is completely handcrafted and beautifully made.

[See details.]


Q. Favorite local spots to eat in the various places you’ve lived?


A. - Yank Sing for dim sum.

- Henry’s Hunan for Chinese.

- King Foot Subs in the Lower Haight for sandwiches.

- Hard Knox Café for Southern food.

[See details.]


- Ghang for Thai food.

- Fort Defiance in Red Hook is one of our regular lunch spots. 

- Court Street Grocers makes some damn fine sandwiches. 

- Rye in Williamsburg has one of the best meatloaf sandwiches out there.

- Traif for small plates.

- Porchetta for, well, porchetta.

- Momofuku Noodle Bar for pork buns.

[See details.]


- Hungry Mother in Cambridge serves superb Southern fare and really inventive cocktails as well. We never had anything there that we didn’t like.

- Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Kenmore Square. We’ve also had many a meal -- brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night. Great hospitality and something on the menu for everyone.


- Norte y Sur - it was one of our favorites. A good majority of their dishes are simply super fresh ingredients cooked on the plancha with just olive oil and salt.

- DF Bar - we used to go regularly for fantastic Mexican tortas.

[See details.]


Q. Favorite places for cocktails in the various places you’ve lived?


A. Though we haven’t lived there since 2007, Smuggler’s Cove, 15 Romolo, Rickhouse, Cantina and Rye are all on our shortlist.

[See details.]


We love Dram in Williamsburg – great drinks, great folks and no pretension.

The Jakewalk in Carroll Gardens is another one of our favorites for a great neighborhood bar.

Death and Company, El Cobre, Mayahuel and PDT all in the East Village.

Painkiller in the Lower East Side definitely needs to be experienced by everyone.

[See details.]


Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar were our go-to bars: amazing staff, great drinks and fantastic hospitality.

Hungry Mother, in Cambridge, is one of the few bars to play with sorghum syrup.

At Citizen Pub, we love the Fernet on tap.

[See details.]


The cocktail scene, per se, is not very big in Madrid – most people prefer their Mojitos and gin & tonics. The nightlife there is unbelievable though, and there are quite a few places to get a good drink.

- Del Diego is one of the few places that will make true cocktails and is helmed by Fernando del Diego and his two sons.

- We liked the Gin Club for goblet-sized gin & tonics, where one is able to match over 30 different gins with several different tonics.

- Ambigú for rum.

- La Tarasca for amazing Margaritas from bartenders in luchador masks.

- La Venencia for sherry (and nothing else).

[See details.]

Q. For someone looking to try more unique spirits, which ones can you recommend?

A. We would recommend anything from Haus Alpenz or Tempus Fugit. These two importers/producers have some of the most interesting and unique products in the industry to offer, many of them classic European formulations that haven’t been available in the U.S.

[See details.]

Q. Who else do you think is doing authentic / interesting / unique things in the bitters and cocktail industry?

A. There are many folks doing things that are unique and interesting, but unique isn’t necessarily synonymous with useful, and many times we say that something is interesting as a nice way of saying ‘not that good.’

The Savoy Guide is considered a classic source for cocktails, authentically reproduced, but many of the recipes are, well, they’re bad – though many cocktail enthusiasts won’t admit it.

So, instead of pinpointing specific things that we think are authentic, interesting or unique, we’d like to mention a few places that are worth checking out if you have a chance – bartenders with a passion for a product who are executing to the best of their craft.

- Mayahuel in New York for tequila.

- Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco for Tiki.

- Dry Martini Bar in Barcelona for a dry Martini.

- 69 Colebrooke Row in London for their aged cocktails.

- Have new classics at Death and Company in NYC, Dram in Brooklyn, Zig Zag in Seattle, Cure in New Orleans and Anvil in Houston.

If you can’t visit any of these places, buy a couple of books and some tools from Cocktail Kingdom or The Boston Shaker and create your own interesting concoction!

[See details.]


Avery and Janet’s recommendations for cocktail resources and their favorite restaurants and cocktail places in New York, Boston, Houston, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Barcelona, and Madrid.


- East India Trading Company

- The Conference

- The Latin Quarter


Very Small Batch Cocktail Bitters and Culinary Extracts



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