DIY Mole Bitters Recipe

Photograph: Marcia Simmons

The exotic combination of chile and chocolate in these mole bitters is a perfect addition to cocktails made with tequila, mezcal, or dark rum.

Notes: Cacao nibs are roasted bits of cacao beans. Many grocery and health-food stores carry them, or you can also order them online from Amazon. (You can use leftover nibs to make your own chocolate liqueur.) Wormwood leaf and angelica root can be hard to find. Some bulk natural foods shops carry them, but Lhasa Karnak sells it online and at their Berkeley stores. Ancho chile is a poblano chile that has been dried. You can purchase them from most grocery stores and Latin markets in the spice section.

Recipe Facts


Active: 10 mins
Total: 0 mins
Makes: 1 1/4 cups

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  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs (see note)
  • 1 (4- to 6-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1 clove
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried wormwood leaf (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon angelica root (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 ancho chile (see note)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup


  1. Pour the vodka into a sealable glass jar along with cacao nibs, cinnamon stick, clove, allspice, oregano, wormwood, angelica, and sesame seeds. Seal and shake, then let steep for 7 days at room temperature away from direct sunlight. After 7 days, cut up the chile and place it in the jar, seeds and all. Let steep for another 2 days.

  2. Strain through cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh sieve. Repeat straining through fresh cheesecloth if needed.

  3. Combine the water and agave syrup until integrated and pour into the strained liquid. Shake and seal, then let the mixture rest a day before use. Store at room temperature for up to a year.

Special equipment

mason jar, fine-mesh strainer, cheesecloth

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