Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Deniseea Taylor - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Deniseea Taylor

“I didn’t want to just serve somebody a cocktail,” says Deniseea Taylor. “I wanted a story to go with it.”

Taylor’s gateway into the world of adult beverages was through the garden of her Harlem brownstone. A Los Angeles native, she’d moved to New York in 2011, where she entertained frequently. “I love cocktails,” she says. “I realized this could either be a problem or a business.” It became a business. She’s emerged as an educator and influencer with a passion for history—specifically Black history. She calls herself a ”Negrostorian.” “That’s my word. It’s what
I’ve always wanted to be,” she says. Of her education program, she says, “It’s a very, very Black version of Drunk History.”

She later moved to Atlanta, then, four years ago, to New Orleans, where she’s worked with liquor brands to create classes and events that tell the story of Black Americans. “I pair black history, black music with well-curated cocktails,” she notes on the website for her business, Cocktails by POP. “Our history has been left out for too long, so let’s have a drink and talk [a]bout it …”

Then came the coronavirus. “Within 48 hours, all my events through 2021 got cancelled,” she says. She’s moved her courses online, then started developing syrups and bottled cocktails. And with an eye to the eventual return and revival of the bar world, she’s hosted invitation-only private events, with an eye toward opening a New Orleans bar that reflects the city’s rich African American culture.

“I never had any of this planned,” Taylor says. “But I want every part of my mark on the cocktail industry to include our history.”

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