Xavier Herit formerly the head bartender at Daniel now with his own bar called Wallflower in the West Village, talks to Thirsty about his favorite hangouts, his coffee habit and his go-to date spots.
Favorite place to hang out over a drink in NYC? Where can we find you drinking when you are not at Wallflower?
There are many places I like to hang out in New York, maybe too many! I recently enjoyed the cocktails at Dirty FRENCH or Miracle on 9th Street the pop up from Nicolas de Soto. It is always a pleasure to be back at Nite Cap, Dead Rabbit has been a truly cocktail experience.
I also like to hang out late night after work at mothers ruin , or in my neighborhood, in the Upper East Side at the Gilroy and the Milton, recently opened. I have also to mention all the places I’d like to hang out more often: Employees Only, Pouring Ribbon, the Summit, Attaboy, ECC, Dear Irving, Death & CO, Ward 3, Mayahuel, and the Nomad Bar.
What is your go-to drink?
I am the happiest man, with a tequila ocho reposado neat and a beer.
What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
I started to work at the age of 16 years old in France as an apprentice. I broke lot of glasses, they kept me as a busser for a while (I was mostly making coffee and resetting tables!)
What was the first alcoholic drink you ever had? What were you drinking the first time you got drunk?
My father always gave me a little bit of red wine mixed with water at the table , to teach me how appreciate the flavors of the wine, when I was 10 years old.
I got drunk for my first time ,when I was 12 years old . My uncle owns a vineyard in Bordeaux , it was a family reunion (40 people.) I wanted to do like my older cousin by drinking the same wine, I did not go very well after a couple of glasses!
Daniel Boulud has been a big influence in my career!
Is there a drink / product / ingredient that you just can’t stomach or don’t get? Why?
I’m not a big fan of the Malort from Letherbee, which has very specific flavors. However, their Fernet is awesome!
Coffee or Tea? How do you take it? How many do you drink a day? Do you have your favorite spot?
Coffee is definitively my “go to” for a productive day. I usually start with a drip coffee the morning, then a coffee from my Nespresso Machine at home, and a French Press at Wallflower. I usually drink 3 to 4 coffee a day.
What’s your hangover remedy?
Two Tylenol before to go to bed, and drink lot water.
Favorite Bartender / Mixologist / Sommelier or hospitality industry person? Why?
I think Nicolas de Soto ( on the side of being a very good friend ) has been an inspiration in my career. He is very creative but also has a very good pallet.
After spending seven years at restaurant Daniel. Daniel Boulud has been a big influence in my career. He is a true host, I have seen the real side of hospitality by working by his side.
Best Pairing meal that you have ever had and where was it?
Restaurant Daniel, eight courses tasting menu with some amazing wines; staring with Krug champagne, burgundy, and many more, ending with Tokaji for desert.
Where is your favorite spot for a super chill night out / Date night?
Dear Irving, located at 55 Irving Street.
Hidden gem in NYC? (Dive bar, late night eats, anything place that you love in NYC?
What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
To finally start my own business, Wallflower has been a truly experience. I am very proud of this project!
Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to in the industry?
I think the cocktail level in New York is very high. It is always an inspiration to try the drinks from the friends and other well known mixologist. Watching chefs and using their technics had also a big impact in my career.
What are you working on right now?
I have been working on my new winter cocktail list, which should be ready mid-January. Lot of good thinks to try.
Where to Find Xavier
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