book launch events: botany at the bar

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Los Angeles



Pioneer Works

One-way Ticket to Mars

Saturday November 21st 2015

What are the most likely plants to grow in space? We contemplated this question in designing cocktails for a special lecture with NASA astronaut Mike Massimo. Our response: those with Crassulacean Acid Metabolism, or CAM photosynthesis, that evolved the ability to close their leaf stomata during the day to avoid evapotranspiration in arid conditions and photosynthesize during the night. Pineapples and grapes are examples of CAM plants that are also delicious in beverages.   


Edible Schoolyard Harvest Dinner

Tuesday, October 27 2015

We were invited to pair up with Justin Smillie from the Upland to create and serve cocktails at the Edible Schoolyard NYC's Annual Harvest Dinner. The Edible Schoolyard program was founded by Alice Waters to teach gardening, cooking, and sustainability to children. Edible Schoolyard NYC is a nonprofit organization formed to bring Alice Waters’ vision to New York City public schools with the goal to address the childhood obesity crisis and better connect children to fresh, healthy food.




Monday October 26th 2015

united states botanic gardens

The Science of Taste

Friday, October 23 2015 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Conservatory Garden Court, US Botanic Garden, Washington DC

$25 Friends and $30 non-members

Rachel Meyer, PhD, Evolutionary Botanist, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, co-founder of Shoots and Roots Bitters

Understanding how taste works and why humans perceive flavor so differently is a nascent scientific field, but one bursting with mind-blowing breakthroughs about human history. Reinvigorate your redefined taste buds in this workshop that explores the science of global taste as well as the taste of science. Please note: Small bites will be served to accompany the tasting journey. 


botany at the bar

Friday, September 25 2015 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Conservatory Garden Court, US Botanic Garden, Washington DC

$25 Friends and $30 non-members

Rachel Meyer, PhD, Evolutionary Botanist, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, co-founder of Shoots and Roots Bitters

Ever thought about the roughly 50 plant species in the cup of your Manhattan? Or how many kinds of agave there are? In this workshop, we take a scientific journey into three cocktails and five bitters, discussing ethnobotany, chemistry, scientific traditions and freshest innovations that help us value the world's 40,000 eaten and imbibed plants. Please note: This program is intended for those 21 years of age and older. Small bites will be served to accompany the tasting journey.. 


World Science Festival


Saturday, May 30, 2015 7:00 PM-9:00 PM

NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology


Join the scientists from Shoots and Roots on an intoxicating botanical journey. This workshop takes you on an exploration of biodiversity to show the surprising similarities between people and plants through cocktails and food. The botanists of Roots and Shoots team up with Christian Schaal of Estela to create species-rich cocktails of amaros and bitters.

This program is part of the Scientific Kitchen Series—intimate, hands-on workshops behind the scenes and exclusive kitchens and laboratories in New York.


World Tea Expo

Tea, Bitters and the Science of Taste Workshop

May 8th 2015, 11am - 12:30pm

Long Beach, Los Angeles



A performing arts salute to science

Thursday April 30th 2015, Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC

Shoots & Roots Bitters helped host the science-inspired after party at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. 


2015 BGCI International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens

A Sensory Approach to Botanical Education

April 28th 2015

Missouri Botanical Gardens, St Louis, Missouri



April 29th 2015, Harlem

We were invited to show how much we love the commercial kitchen we make our bitters in, Hot Bread Kitchen, by making cocktails for Diesel and OTB's outreach teams. We were one of three businesses. The others were Tipsy Scoop, an alcoholic gourmet ice cream (!!), and Duet, a healthy catering company that makes the best hummus!


New York Skeptics Conference


April 9th 2015 3:45pm - 5pm



Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers’ Network (ECOSGN) Conference 

Seedy Social with Shoots and Roots Bitters


Chocolate Happy Hour

March 24th 2015 6-8pm

Brooklyn Desks in Bushwick



March 7th 2015


Denver Museum of Science

Traveling the Silk Road

February 12th 2015

S&R bitters cocktail reception following a lecture on the Tea Horse Road as part of the Traveling the Silk Road Exhibition



January 15th 2015


Tasting Nature's Pharmacy: A 21st Century Revival of Tonics and Bitter Herbs

December 2, 2014 at 8:00pm in EST
Evolver Online


The Oldest Living Things in the World Exhibition by Rachel Sussman Closing

Reception at Pioneer Works 

Sunday November 2nd 2014 at 6:00 - 9:00 PM

Join us for a very special closing reception for Sussman's highly celebrated solo exhibition, featuring never before seen prints and a site-specific installation of research and ephemera collected from her travels. Artist Jer Thorp, co-founder of the Office for Creative Research will join Sussman in a dialogue, delving into her work and explorations while Shoots and Roots Bitters mixes botanical cocktails inspired by The Oldest Living Things in the World.


Shoots & Roots Product Launch Party 

Harney & Sons SoHo

Monday September 22nd 2014 at 5:00 - 7:00 PM


Bushel & Barrel: Cider Cocktails Inundated with Environmental Education 

Thursday September 18th 2014 at 7:00 PM

at 606 Market St Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

We invite you to a special cocktail hour in which the Bushel & Barrel cidersmiths team up with the botanists of Shoots and Roots Bitters, coming to visit from Harlem, NYC. We will be serving up excellent cocktails and pop bitters that tour the plant diversity of the world.  Every plant has a story to tell, be it the apples that traveled to our neck of the woods from the Central Asian mountains, or the hybrid lemon in your garnish. Shoots and Roots Bitters will bring the BOTANY to the BAR with Civil War Cider cocktails. We would love for you to spend your evening with us at Bushel & Barrel!


2014 World Science Festival Scientific Kitchen: Botany at the Bar 

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 7:00 PM

at NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology
12 Waverly Place
New York, NY 10003
Between Greene & Mercer

Tickets are currently available to WSF members and others with a pre-sale promotional code. Tickets go on sale to the general public Thursday May 1 at noon. This event is for those 21 and Over

Explore the complex and often misunderstood world of botany in a new and delicious way. Follow the scientists of Shoots and Roots on a botanical journey via hand-crafted bitters that showcase plants from biodiversity hotspots around the globe. Use your newfound knowledge along with modern tools and techniques to craft your own high-quality, unique extractions from Earth’s most exotic plants. Enjoy a sensory experience of science enhanced by the vaporized, carbonated and artfully crafted cocktails of Kevin Denton from wd~50 and Alder. Finish with an insider’s peek at the greenhouse above the lab, concluding an evening that’s a beautiful melding of botany and booze...

This program is part of the Scientific Kitchen Series – Intimate hands-on food-meets-science workshops behind the scenes at New York's most exclusive kitchens and laboratories.**21 AND OVER ONLY**


The Science of Flavor Lab Workshops 

May 2014

Baruch College Campus High School 

We hosted four interactive chemistry lab workshops for high school students at Baruch College Campus High School to explore the science of taste and smell. The workshops started with an exploration of theories on flavor including the inherited basis of taste, recent research on the genetic regulation of flavor, and the relation between regional cuisines and human health. Participants then engaged in a series of activities to demonstrate theoretical foundations and deduct their own conclusions on flavor. The workshops concluded with sharing of participants' personal deductions, comparing and contrasting of patterns, and synthesizing group findings on their taste experiences. 



Exploring the Genetics, Evolution and Ethnobotany of Taste: An Organoleptic Approach to Our Relationship with Plants

Society of Economic Botany and Society of Ethnobiology Annual Meeting at Cherokee, North Carolina 

May 13 1:30-3:00 pm

Participants discussed theories on the inherited basis of taste, genetic regulation of flavor, and the relation between regional cuisines and health needs). Participants then diagramed their own taste map in an activity that demonstrates how tastes and experiences of individuals differ. Participants ultimately compared plant compounds with complementary properties to create botanical blends.

Participants discussed theories on the inherited basis of taste, genetic regulation of flavor, and the relation between regional cuisines and health needs). Participants then diagramed their own taste map in an activity that demonstrates how tastes and experiences of individuals differ. Participants ultimately compared plant compounds with complementary properties to create botanical blends.



The Science of Taste

Wednesday, April 30 2014 from 6:30-9:00 p.m.

Yale School of Management

Exploring the genetics, evolution, and ethnobotany of taste: an organoleptic approach to our relationship with plants

This workshop will guide participants through the sensory experience of taste in a series of short presentations and activities designed to explore flavors from a variety of perspectives. First we will explore the inherited basis of taste, presenting a review of recent research and theories on the genetic regulation of flavor and the relation between regional cuisines and health needs. Participants will then chart their own taste map in an activity designed to demonstrate how much the tastes and experiences of individuals can differ.  Biochemical profiles of plant compounds associated with the different sensations involved in taste will be discussed along with the physiology of their effects on the body.

The second part of the workshop will explore mixtures and pairings, and provide rationale for flavors that frequently co-occur. Participants will have the opportunity to create blend that combine extracts of plant compounds with complementary properties.

Workshop participants should leave with a basic understanding of the heritability and mechanics of taste; the biochemical characteristics of plant compounds associated with different flavor sensations, and an understanding of the ways in which different plant properties may operate synergistically or antagonistically to create sensations that may be considered pleasant or unpleasant. Broader application of these concepts to world cuisine and traditional medicine will be explored, as well as contemporary expectation of flavor properties and cocktail culture and new approaches to food innovation like molecular gastronomy.

No prior understanding of chemistry is required. Participants must be aware of any food allergies and participate at their own risk; all ingredients used will be fully disclosed.



Shoots & Roots Earth Day Tasting at the New York Botanical Garden

Sunday, April 20 2014, 2-3:30 p.m. at the New York Botanical Garden

Welcome spring and celebrate Earth Week with our science staff, enjoying refreshments and a view of the early blooms around Twin Lakes and find out how nature knows to wake up. Learn more about the research  and discovery that the Garden’s science team does.

The cocktail tasting features Shoots & Roots Bitters, created by a team of botanists on a quest to capture the most delicious, healthful, and intriguing properties of underutilized plants through botanical infusions to elevate your drinks and meals. Learn about conservation issues and solutions that come to be through the promotion of underutilized plants in food and beverages. Guests will also be able to take a brief tour through the Pfizer Lab to learn the scientific process involved in studying the phytochemical and genetic profiles of plants. 


2014 World Science Festival Gala 

Monday, April 7 2014

The World Science Festival Gala is annual celebration of the adventure, culture and content of science featuring performances and science-infused delicacies. Shoots & Roots Bitters offered a tasting of blends for this special occasion in collaboration cocktails designed and prepared by Kevin Denton of wd-50 and Alder. This year’s Gala Honoree was geneticist Mary-Claire King who discovered the first breast cancer gene, BRCA1 – that has saved countless lives. To learn more about the WSF Gala, please explore here:




Endangered Species: Food & The Changing Face of Harlem 

Thursday, March 20th 2014

Shoots & Roots joined a conversation led by Chef Marcus Samuelsson in collaboration with Paper Magazine and Shinola Detroit about the Harlem community and the future of artisan food. Shoots & Roots was recognized as a Harlem food trendsetters along with Jessamyn Rodriguez from Hot Bread Kitchen. 



Experimental Cuisine Collective: Evolution of Food and Medicine

March 17 2014

In her presentation, Teaching The Evolution of Food and Medicine with Bitters, Shoots and Roots Bitters cofounder Rachel Meyer will take us on a journey into the history of the foods we eat and the mechanisms of evolution at work during the domestication of plant species from around the world. Through a series of interactive tastings, you will be treated to a molecular, chemical, and archaeobotanical tour of the geography of food origins and the ways plants have traditionally been exploited before they became the foods we prize today. Some unusual suspects, experienced through bitters, cocktails, and tisanes, include arborvitae, bhut jolokia peppers, cannibal’s tomato, Chinese indigo, devil’s hand flower, hemp seeds, monkfruit, moringa, sambong, and tartary buckwheat.

For more information:



Traveling the Silk Road Lecture and Tasting at the LA Museum of Natural History 

Thursday, January 16th 2014 

Tea Horse Road: The World’s Oldest and Highest Tea Trade Route” by Professor Selena Ahmed. Following the lecture, enjoy a tasting of cocktails with herbal blends created by Shoots & Roots Bitters

Join ethnobotanist Dr. Selena Ahmed, co-author of the book Tea Horse Road: China's Ancient Trade Road to Tibet, on a journey starting in the motherland of the tea plant along the world’s oldest and highest tea trade route across the Himalaya. Tea is a species with a long history of cultivation, trade and consumption for wellbeing. Explore the rich cultural practices and biological diversity of the communities the Tea Horse Road passes. Hear about Dr. Ahmed’s discoveries of tea’s journey from a historical and contemporary perspective including issues related to sustainable farming, globalization, conservation, antioxidants and human health. The audience gets to know the plants and people, the lives and landscapes experienced through the exchange of tea and other natural resources. Enjoy spectacular photographs of this journey by co-author and award-winning photographer Michael Freeman. Books will be available for purchase and signing.


Past events

DIY Workshops

Yale University Stigma Group, New Haven, CT

Hosted a workshop on the history of bitters with a guided lab on producing bitters for the student ethnobotany group at Yale University


Bitters Tastings

Harney & Sons Tea SoHo, NYC

Celebrated the coming of spring and bud burst of tea leaves with a Spring Fling Tea Cocktail Tasting in collaboration with Harney & Sons SoHo


Purple Yam Restaurant Book Signing, NYC

We set up a cocktail hour featuring plants of the Philippines at Purple Yam Restaurant in honor of a cook book signing


United Nations Book Launch, NYC

Served drinks inspired by the ethnobotany of Palau for a book signing of the Palau Traditional Medicinal Handbook


Lecture at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Boston, MA

Offered a sensory experience through drinks inspired by the ancient Tea Horse Road following a lecture on this tea trade route and the impacts of global environmental change on tea quality


Conference Events

International Society of Tropical Foresters Annual Conference, Yale University 

Set up a Forests and Food themed conference cocktail hour


Society for Economic Botany Annual Meeting, Frostburg State University

Served drinks with the theme of Montane Ethnobotany at the conference cocktail hour


American Society of Pharmacognosy Annual Meeting, NYC

Launched our Pop Bitters of infusions in sparkling water for the student mixer



Blanks Holiday Party, NYC

Collaborated with Brooklyn Gin to offer a holiday extravaganza of botanical drinks and pops


Haunted Halloween Holiday Party, NYC

Brought out the spooky botanicals



Designed a custom blend to commemorate the special occasion of our friends Kayti and Morgan