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
Serves: 150 servings
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

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
4 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 150
Amount per serving
Calories 4
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)