Shoots & Roots Bitters was founded by Rachel Meyer, Selena Ahmed, and Ashley DuVal - three female scientists that promote biodiversity through research, teaching, and the creation of science-based botanical blends that draw from ecology, cultural practices, and flavors around the world. 

Deeply valuing collaboration across sectors, our team includes mixologist Christian Schaal, chef Noah ten Broek, and artist Joren Eulalee. We are further guided by an inspirational Advisory Board.


Ashley DuVal is a cacao geneticist working on ex situ conservation of genetic diversity, and breeding relating to tree architecture and tolerance to abiotic stresses in cacao . Ashley has served as a consultant for UN on issues related to agrobiodiversity and resilience, and conducted research on the ethnobotany, management and domestication of trees ranging from the açaí palm in the Amazon estuaries to ancient pollard beeches in the Pyrenees.           


Rachel Meyer is a research director in conservation genomics at the University of California, developing citizen science initiatives to get outdoors and monitor biodiversity. When she's not obsessing about ancient food and medicines, she's leaning over the bar asking about every spirit, which is how she found recipe-contributor for “Botany at the Bar” --Christian Schaal-- bartending.                                                           


Selena Ahmed is an Associate Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University where she co-leads the Food and Health Lab examining the ecological, cultural, and health aspects of food systems. She focuses on how environmental and management factors impact botanical quality with implications for human and ecosystem health. Selena co-authored a book on the Tea Horse Road and enjoys infusing plants traded along this ancient trade route as well as from mountains in her backyard.

christian schaal, mixologist

In-house mixologist Christian Schaal leads the bar program at Zebulon in LA and previously bartended in New York for over a decade. He has contributed original cocktails to chef-driven restaurants such as Estela and Alder and run the bar program at Nights & Weekends and Manhattan Inn. His drinks have been featured in New York Magazine, Food & Wine, Gotham Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Schaal’s experience runs the gamut from doing time in dive bars to crafting classic cocktails and using modern techniques to achieve the result everyone is seeking—a delicious drink.


In-house chef Noah ten Broek leads the tea and tisane program for Shoots & Roots Bitters, bringing her expertise in food and flavor. Noah’s culinary experiences over the past 15 years range from making drinks in a beach hut in New Zealand to hand-rolling artisanal pastas at a farm-to-table restaurant in Bozeman, Montana, creating accessible recipes for food security projects, and experimenting with fermentation. After a trip to the mountains of the birthplace of the tea plant in 2014, Noah started the Loboh tea line of Shoots & Roots Bitters.

Joren Eulalee, ARTIST

Vancouver based artist Joren Eulalaee’s work ranges from the technical to whimsical. She brings together the expertise of a trained illustrator, designer, painter, and animator to create informed work that is engaging and accessible. Joren is the creativity behind our botanical labels.

Our Story

Photograph by Stephen Devries as featured in "The Science of Spirits".

Photograph by Stephen Devries as featured in "The Science of Spirits".

As field and lab scientists, we often encounter plants with fascinating cultural history whose aromas and tastes captivate and engage us. It is these tastes and aromas that are far more elusive to capture through scientific means such as publications. We feel that these diverse place-based experiences are as important as the scientific data we collect in expressing the importance of biological and cultural diversity. We met during graduate studies through the New York Botanical Garden. All of us share a passion for research and education on culturally important plants. Our collaboration was a natural fit

We started working on research projects together. From examining the genetic diversity of wild tea trees that grow deep in the forests of SW China to a literature review on processes of crop domestication. This grew into educational outreach about our research. It was important to us for our educational efforts to be engaging - we began to incorporate botanical tastings of the plants we study from around the world and the rich sensory experiences from our fieldwork. 

Our botanical tastings evolved to applying our phytochemical lab training (and equipment) towards making high quality botanical infusions that optimally bring out flavor and other plant compounds. 

This is how Shoots and Roots Bitters was born. Our mission is to promote botany education and biodiversity in exciting bitters for your soda water, cocktails and other drinks.  We are scientists celebrating science. Join us on our sensory journey to explore the world’s remarkable botanical diversity.