Nightlife | Polite Provisions Launches Spirit Society

Polite Provisions Teaches the Art of Mixology

Erick-CastroPolite Provisions’ Erick Castro launches new cocktail education series.

By Sarah Daoust

When it comes to cocktails, I’ve recently learned three things: 1) the ability to sling drinks does not always a great bartender make; 2) mixology—aka the art or skill of preparing mixed drinks—is truly an art form, that, at its finest, can transform the way we think about imbibing; and 3) not all cocktails are created equal.

Thank goodness for true masters of their craft such as Erick Castro, who is raising the bar at Polite Provisions. As the general manager and partner of the popular Normal Heights watering hole, he’s both a bartender’s bartender and a cocktail neophyte’s bartender. Translation: Castro knows what the heck he is doing, and he is eager to share what he knows with others.

Welcome to the Spirit Society, Castro’s exclusive educational series of five hands-on cocktail classes where just 12 “students” at a time learn the fine art form of preparing craft cocktails. Each two-hour session puts imbibers in the role of bartender, armed with their own workstation of tools and ingredients, all while receiving personal guidance from Castro along the way.

At a recent Cocktails 101 class, guests made three craft creations while learning about the art of “swizzling” (Google “cocktail swizzle stick”); how the Prohibition Era really put a damper on the restaurant industry; the importance of ice (size and shape matter!); what to stock your bar at home with and how to wow your guests at your next dinner party; and why vodka is rarely a spirit of choice for mixologists as it has no flavor.

The best part about the Spirit Society? You get to drink what you make—so if you somehow screw up your cocktail, no one will know it but you. And maybe Castro … because that’s his job.

Classes are limited to just 12 people, cost $60 per person, and take place at Polite Provisions from 6 to 8 p.m. The current schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 7 – Cocktails 101 with Erick Castro
Monday, May 19 – Cocktails 101 with Erick Castro
Monday, June 9 – Cocktails 101 with Erick Castro
Monday, July 7 – Tiki Cocktails with Erick Castro
Monday, August 11 – Tequila & Mezcal with Ryan Fitzgerald

For tickets to the April 7 class, visit All future tickets will be available online at Early RSVPs are highly suggested, as the classes will sell out quickly. Bottoms up! 4696 30th St., Normal Heights. 619.677.3784.



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