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New York’s Top Black Mixologists And Where To Find Their Famous Cocktails

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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Mixology, or the art and skill of preparing mixed drinks, has become a celebrated profession for those with a passion for cocktails, flavors, and people. In New York City, there is certainly no shortage of trendy bars to sip on the latest alcoholic creations, but here are some of the best black mixologists currently putting their mark on the scene.

Demetrious O’Neil

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Demetrious has held an interest for bartending his entire life. After moving to Bed-Stuy, he quickly got into the bartending scene both out of necessity and a passion for the craft. In 2007, he started working at a black, queer bar called Grand275 in Clinton Hill that used fresh ingredients in their cocktails, inspiring him to study natural flavors and make signature drinks from scratch. 

What sets him apart from other mixologists in the city?

Demetrious believes that less is more. When creating a cocktail he prefers to use only three ingredients to make a compelling and complex drink. Using concentrated and flavorful syrups, he is able to sneak a ton of flavor into each sip. Owning his own small batch syrup concentrate and tea company called Ash Apothecary also helps.

Signature Cocktail:

Prospect Punch at The Zombie House is a classic punch bowl style cocktail made with fresh lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, over proofed rum blend, and a citrus hibiscus tea.


@thebrooklynapothecary

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Franky Marshall

Franky started out in the business as a waitress where she noticed that the bartenders made the most money while seemingly doing less work. This is when she decided to make the switch. Now, with a notable resume behind her, Franky is the beverage director at Le Boudoir in Brooklyn Heights.   

What sets her apart from other mixologists in the city?

For one thing, her resume and impact on the cocktail scene in the city is impressive and undeniable. She was part of the opening teams at both Clover Club and the Dead Rabbit, worked at Monkey Bar and the revamped Holiday Cocktail Lounge, all before becoming the beverage director at Le Boudoir. She creates cocktails that are appealing to all kinds of drinkers from the novice to the cocktail expert.

Signature Cocktail:

53 Souvenirs which includes Cognac infused with walnut oil, Pedro Ximénez sherry, chocolate-chili bitters, stirred with a hint of expressed lemon oil.

@leboudoirbrooklyn

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Justin Singh

Justin got started at a Brooklyn craft beer bar where he worked as a barback. Through this experience he was able to learn flavor profiles and how to discern certain ingredients. He’s been honing his craft ever since, drawing from different ingredients and influences along the way. 

What sets him apart from other mixologists in the city?

Justin places a high value on connecting with his guests. He often goes off-menu after a conversation with a guest that gives him inspiration to create something a bit more customized based on their personality, mood, and cravings.

Signature Cocktail:

Justin is responsible for workshopping many of the cocktails on the menu at Subject on Suffolk Street.

@justindrinksthings

Derrick Turner

Derrick has been a bartender for almost 15 years starting his career in 2006 as a bartender at Libations on Ludlow Street in New York City. Initially, he started in the business to pay off his student loans but as time went on, the beauty and technicality of creating a cocktail clicked for him. He’s now created a huge name for himself making it as a finalist on Time Out New York’s Best Bartender list

What sets him apart from other mixologists in the city?

Derrick attributes his ability to connect with his guests to growing up in New York City. He takes time to listen to what his guests want and then cater their drinks on the spot. This ensures a unique and memorable experience that be believes is the reason his guests come back time and time again.

Signature Cocktail:

The Black Forest and you can find Derrick bartending at Harding’s.

@dturnerj
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