With 11 years in New York City under his belt, French native and expert mixologist Xavier Herit considers himself a Manhattanite at heart. We sat down with the Daniel vet himself at his very own West Village outpost, Wallflower, to find out his fave neighborhood haunts and recipe for success - pun intended.
LA: Aside from Wallflower, what are your top five go-to spots for a killer cocktail?
XH: Dead Rabbit is one of the best cocktail bars in New York. I also really like Black Crescent on the Lower East Side; the whole Rivington thing is really booming right now. Nitecap is over there and has an amazing team behind it. It’s open pretty late, which is good for those of us in industry. The Eddy, our sister restaurant in the East Village, also has an incredible cocktail program. I really believe in the Upper East Side too...I DJ once in a while at The Gilroy and live in the neighborhood. We’re starting to see a lot of great restaurants pop up there too.
LA: How would you describe your approach behind the bar?
XH: I’m inspired by what I’ve learned working in high end restaurants with access to quality ingredients; it stimulates creativity. I also find that it’s important to know classic to be innovative. I’ve got a big crush on dry sherries and I also make a lot of syrups in-house; my cocktail lists have a bit of everything for everybody.
LA: If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
XH: I’d be a Negroni. It’s a cocktail to enjoy at any time of the day. It’s simple, just three ingredients, but when properly mixed it’s really wonderful, sort of like life.
LA: After the kitchen closes, where do you head for a late night bite?
XH: I love The Spotted Pig. DBGB is great too; all their sausages and charcuterie are made in-house.
LA: Any new places we should look out for?
XH: Actually, Nicolas de Soto (Experimental Cocktail Club) will be running the bar at a new spot called Mace later this month on 9th and Avenue C.
LA: Okay, we’ve gotta ask. Can you share a recipe so we can make magic at home?
XH: Sure. This is from my latest cocktail menu, which we released just last week. Check it out:
1.5 oz tequila blanco
.5 oz Aperol
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh watermelon juice
Add all ingredients together and shake with ice. Strain into coupe. Voilà!