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New York’s Best Bartender 2015: Finalist Derrick Turner

Get to know Derrick Turner, one of the top 10 finalists in this year’s competition

Derrick Turner, Harding’s, New York's Best Bartender 2015
Photograph: Rayon Richards
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Bar: Harding’s

Been a bartender for: 10 years

Signature drink: The Black Forest

What’s the best thing about being a bartender? By far, the best thing about being a bartender is simply entertaining guests as if they were guests in my home. Just creating an experience that is unequivocal to anything else they have encountered in New York is what truly drives me.

What New York bar trend do you love? Aging cocktails in barrels. Stop by Char No. 4 in Brooklyn—it’s amazing what four weeks in charred oak does to a Negroni.

What’s the best way to grab a crowd’s attention? Drunk people love fire. I have a mini crockpot and a brûlée torch that sit next to my well. If I’m smoking the cauldron to make a drink, I might burn an orange peel in the fire—the oil ignites and it illuminates the dark room. If you’re having a conversation and you see something on fire, you either: (a) continue to watch, or (b) get the hell out of there. With drunk people, it’s always (a).

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