You know how to EAT THIS CITY. With top chefs as tour guides, you’ve learned how to scout out hot spots for breakfast and brunch, where to go for a delicious date night, and how to feast like a local liege in the cities you love. But where do you wash it all down? Do you know how to find the best brewpub? Uncover who makes the meanest bloody marys and the most sparkling mimosas?
You’re about to find out. Welcome to DRINK THIS CITY!
This week we’re diving deep into Manhattan! It’s no surprise that the most densely populated borough in New York City is also rich in beautiful bars, inventive bar programs, and creative cocktail culture. To navigate the best bars that the big city has to offer, we’ll need a guide that knows his stuff, and luckily, we have just the man!
Meet Derrick Turner, native New Yorker, the Official Bartender of 1800 Tequila, and one of TimeOut Magazine’s Top 10 Bartenders in New York City in 2015. Derrick got his start in the industry as a barback, working to pay off his culinary school loans, but quickly discovered his passion in creating cocktails. Behind the bar, he could utilize his culinary experience, infusing his beverages with interesting and unusual flavor combinations, tailoring his drinks to his patrons.
“I like to break down what a person likes to drink to a T,” he says of his focus on flavor. “Do you want something sweet, spicy, bitter or tangy?”
It’s clear Derrick knows how to match with flavor and personalization. So we asked him to give us a quick recipe before taking us on our tour:
- 2 oz. 1800 Coconut
- ¾ oz. Agavero Orange Liqueur
- ¾ oz. lemon juice
- ¾ oz. pear juice
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake hard for 10 seconds. Double strain into a coupe glass and garnish with three pear slices.
Clearly, with Derrick Turner behind the bar, we’re in for a great night out — now let’s join him on a behind the scenes tour of Manhattan’s best cocktail spots.
BRUNCH COCKTAIL OR HAIR OF THE DOG
Time to ship the kids off to grandma, grab your friends, and have yourself a boozy brunch. Maya has one of the best tequila tasting menus in the city. Grab the Horizontal Tequila Tasting. Talk about tasting Mexico, this is the best way to do it.
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The first thing you notice is the bar size, it sits about eight people. Now don’t let that fool you to think that this place isn’t about its cocktails. The Prickly Pear Margarita is one of the best that I’ve had in the city. Do yourself a favor and order the queso and chips to go along with it. Pure Heaven!
Looking for a bar that will transport to the Roaring 20’s with a sip of a drink? Look no further than Hardings NYC. This place is all about the classics; from a Sazarac, to a proper Whiskey Sour (egg whites included) you can’t go wrong here.
But the one drink that stands out from the rest is their Old Fashioned. It’s one of those drinks that’s so simple that so many bartenders mess up. Not here, they hit the nail on the head every time.
If you’re looking for tequila, fantastic food, and amazing cocktails, well…you’ve arrived! Attention to flavor profiles is what this place does. The Mexican Clover mixes spice and savory that creates an umami profile that I haven’t tasted in a long time.
This bar is so awesome; it has its own book. But if you don’t have the time to read, order a Mr. Wednesday. It’s so good that I have nothing else to say!
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What a name, they say with a broad wink. However did you come up with a name like Deep Down and Dirty? There must be a very interesting story attached… And there is. Unfortunately, we’re all sworn to secrecy. A bit like Fight Club, only with armagnac, bourbon, macadamia nuts, poppy seeds, blueberries, grapefruit, a lemon and some aromatic bitters. And ice, yes, there was ice involved as well. Other than that, well, you’ll just have to use your own deep down and dirty imagination. But you’re already doing that, aren’t you? Photo by @brentherrig
Now don’t let the stigma of the phrase “dive bar” shun you. Some of the greatest bars are dives. But when it comes to The Dead Rabbit, they’ve redefined expectations. Go for the Ace of Spades and see what I’m talking about
PUB, TAVERN, OR BREWERY
With a deep catalog of beers and whiskeys, Stout is really a beer connoisseurs dream. With over 85 bottle beers and 25 drafts, I’m sure you can find something to your liking. I like to stick to Magic Hat #9.
For me, The El Chapo is a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Take this one slow and steady, and hopefully you’ll win the race.
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Warm up on this snowy day with a hot @ketelone tea pot! ❄️🌨☃️(Featured Ketel Pot: The Flannel Blanket- Chai Tea Infused Ketel One Vodka, Apple Cider, Pressed Lemon, Allspice, Wildflower Honey, served Hot) #bathtubgin #bathtubginnyc #nyc #newyork #manhattan #ketelone #keteloneteapot #hottea #chaitea #applecider #snowday #coldday #speakeasy #cocktails #cocktailbar #hiddenbar #wintertime
Bathtub Gin has taken a spirit defined how it should be used. This place is fun, electric and delicious. Sometimes, libations don’t need to be cold. When I need a good toasty drink, I’m enjoying The Flannel Blanket. It even comes in an awesome tea pot!
THEMED COCKTAIL at IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE BAR
What if King Midas had a bar? What if he had a Lounge? Well that’s exactly what I say to myself every time I go here. One of the most unique bars that I’ve ever been to. Try the Golden Cadillac and be a monarch for the night.
Yes…Ralph Lauren has a bar! And yes, it is amazing! If you’re looking for a place to celebrate any occasion, be kind to yourself and find yourself here. And while you’re at it, order s Crimson Royale. It has Champagne and cinnamon, what more can you ask?
What if a pharmacist became a doctor? They would create the cocktails that are on this menu. Located in the heart of Chinatown, its one of my secret gems of the city. Once you make your way down, try The Matador.
Have fun finding this bar. It literally hides in plain sight and most people don’t know it’s even there. Once you find it and ring yourself in through the “Red Telephone Booth”, you’ll be inside one of the best bars in NYC. It’s good to build your night with a light cocktail, and if you get the Golden Star Fizz, you’ll be on the right path.
UNUSUAL COCKTAIL or COCKTAIL WITH SURPRISING INGREDIENTS
I stumbled upon this place a few years back for a birthday party, and I did what I usually do I just got tequila on the rocks. After I got called out for being boring, I ordered my tequila with lychee. A surprising delight, and as an added bonus they have belly dancers.
COCKTAIL MADE BY A FRIEND
A buddy of mine Cody was never a bartender, but he was a damn good mixologist. I stopped by Union Fare to catch up, and before I could find a seat he made me a Jack Nouveau. Talk about balance. I had everything you wanted out of a drink.
Thank you, Derrick, for taking us on a tour of Manhattan’s best bars!
Like what you read? Check out Drink This City: San Francisco, Drink This City: New Orleans Drink This City: Miami, Drink This City: Honolulu, Drink This City: Detroit, Drink This City: Chicago, Drink This City: New York, Drink This City: Nashville and more!
Join us next week for more DRINK THIS CITY! Meanwhile, hit us in the comments — where should we travel next?