Expertly Crafted Cocktails
The six-month old bar has made waves already in the San Diego drink scene. Here you'll find spirited cocktails, punches, champagne cocktails, housemade sodas, beer cocktails, and the list goes on and on.
Eater gives its opinion on the "gold-accented cocktail parlor": "... bands of hipsters in plaid mingle with a rowdy Hawaiian shirt-clad crowd, bonding over a shared love of fancy $8 elixirs with ingredients like housemade grapefruit soda, Blanco tequila, London dry gin, organic mint and celery bitters." We can't complain about that. Still, Eater also shares that not everyone is as enthused about Polite Provisions. Said one Yelper, "Polite Provisions is just a pretentious venue that just offers a nice ambiance, overpriced cocktails where you don't know the exact ingredients, and pricey punch bowls that are essentially a $35 bowl of jungle juice."
Bourbon Tiki Drinks: The Iron Ranger
As some of you guys might have heard, my team at Polite Provisions & I are going to be headed to Lost Lake in Chicago for a two day takeover the weekend of March 10th & 11th. Since the theme is going to be Kentucky meets Tiki. I decided to feature one of my favorite original recipes. This one is a tropical bourbon cocktail that I came up with for one of the early menus at Boilermaker, my bar in NYC. Due to its simplicity, it took off around the city and even ended up on the menu at Dear Irving, which was an honor, as it is one of my favorite bars in the city. The inspiration came from the fact that you don't see American whiskey in enough modern tiki drinks, which is strange when you consider that the flavors in Bourbon & Rye lend themselves quite well to traditional tropical spices. So, this was just my way of taking something old, and making it feel new again.
.5oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Angostura bitters
METHOD: Crushed/Pebble Ice
GARNISH: Mint Sprig & Grated Cinnamon
*Something 50% abv or higher works really well here. Think Old Grand-Dad Bonded or Maker’s Mark Cask Strength.
Mind Your Manners
Spirits and soda only seems like the lowliest of mixed drinks.
For Erick Castro, leader of the new bar Polite Provisions in San Diego, California, the combination is more than just a simple drink: It's a birthright.
"Cocktail culture and soda are both thoroughly American inventions," he says. "They developed side by side, relying on the same technology. And when they collided, when carbonated water came behind the bar, it changed cocktails completely."
His new spot is a paean to this storied relationship. The bar features a tap system with 46 lines, which are divided among local beers, wine, sherry, Lillet Rosé, cold-brewed iced coffee ("our version of Red Bull," Castro quips) and house-made sodas.
But the stars of the draft lines might be the highballs, which come in flavors like Jameson and cinnamon soda, gin with strawberry-rose petal soda, and tequila and grapefruit soda--all artfully crafted examples of a much-maligned category, available straight from the tap.
We asked him how to up our boozy soda game at home and he supplied us with a recipe for the Johnny Utah, a fizzy mixture of tequila and celery flavors (see the recipe).
Connaught Bar, London
Photo: courtesy Connaught Bar
Crowned The World&rsquos Best Bar and The Best Bar in Europe for 2020, Connaught Bar&mdasha ritzy cocktail den within London&rsquos prestigious Connaught Hotel&mdashis known for its classic martini trolley service and drinks precisely mixed tableside. Their lovely Ginger Cuvèe combines orchard fruit notes from the whisky with warm spices and a refreshing touch of Champagne for a festive and effervescent holiday libation.
- 1 oz. (20 ml) Glenfiddich Grand Cru Whisky
- 1 oz. (20 ml) Belsazar Riesling Vermouth
- 0.25 oz. (5 ml) Nonino Ginger
- 0.5 oz. (10 ml) sugar syrup
- 3 dashes Hendrick&rsquos Absinthe
- 2 oz. (45 ml) Laurent-Perrier Champagne
- Wild carrot essence*
Stir all ingredients over ice and strain into a flute garnish with a crystallized ginger cube on stick. Spray with wild carrot essence (*sourced from Tuscany alternatively you can replace with a twist and spray of an orange peel).
One and Done: A Vanilla Cocktail in San Diego
_There are nights when a person has time to go round for round at a craft cocktail bar, and there are nights when a single drink will do just fine. For those evenings, we present One and Done, a column that exalts the one drink you just can’t miss at some of the country’s best bars. _
Today we meet Erick Castro, the mustachioed frontman at Polite Provisions in San Diego. Castro, who has logged time at some of the finest cocktail bars on the West Coast, including Rickhouse and Bourbon and Branch, calls his approach to cocktails “vintage minimalist.” His drink of choice, the Brave Companion, reflects the bar’s reputation for tweaking classic recipes with fresh, often homemade ingredients.
"The Brave Companion really speaks to who I am as a bartender. This is an incredibly simple, clean cocktail based on a classic formula, but using slightly more esoteric ingredients. At Polite Provisions we pride ourselves on our variety of housemade ingredients—things like tinctures and syrups, soda pops, and in the case of the Brave Companion, the vanilla gomme syrup, made with gum arabic. This slightly obscure stabilizer was commonly used by bartenders in the late 1800s it improves a cocktail’s body, depth and texture. The Brave Companion's combination of vanilla gomme syrup with bourbon and creme de cacao creates an earthy mocha flavor, which I think works beautifully. The lemon gives the drink a sense of vitality."
The Brave Companion
2 ounces Buffalo Trace bourbon
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce housemade vanilla gomme syrup (see recipe below)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients except the lemon wheel and shake well to chill. Strain over rocks and garnish with the lemon wheel.
To make the vanilla gomme syrup, split two vanilla pods and steep them in 24 ounces of warm simple syrup for 30 minutes. Add a small pinch of gum arabic and stir. Remove vanilla pods and place syrup in fridge to cool in a sealed container. The syrup keeps for two weeks.
Learn To Make 100+ Expertly Crafted Cocktails For Just $30!
Whether you&rsquore simply curious about yummy cocktail recipes are looking to start your journey as a professional mixologist, attending bartending school may have crossed your mind. But with typical training programs costing anywhere from $400 to $800 and requiring you to put in up to 40 hours of practice, perhaps this formal learning option simply isn&rsquot worth it.
Don&rsquot give up on your dreams of crafting mouth-watering cocktails just yet &mdash this online program can have you feeling comfortable and confident behind the bar for just $29 bucks. Consisting of five courses, covering everything from bartending basics to advanced mixing practices, The 2021 Ultimate Mixology & Cocktail Trainer Bundle is every aspiring bartender&rsquos dream.
Led by the world champion mixologist, author, and international trainer, Paul Martin, you&rsquoll learn firsthand what it takes to craft a seriously superb cocktail. With his award-winning mixology theories, you&rsquoll learn, step-by-step, how to craft some of the most popular, high-level cocktails out there with a wide range of alcohol bases, mixers, and more. From tequila to vodka to gin, these courses cover it all.
In addition to learning how to construct these delicious adult beverages, you&rsquoll also get a well-rounded education in the history of these beloved drinks, opening your eyes to the rich, complex world of alcohol. Not only does this make for a well-informed, expert bartender or mixologist, but it also gives you some seriously impressive party tricks and material.
No matter your experience level, the many lessons and informative content in The 2021 Ultimate Mixology & Cocktail Trainer Bundle are designed to take your cocktail-making skills to the next level, both professionally and in your everyday life. And at just under $30 bucks, this is the deal of a lifetime.
The Daily Caller is devoted to showing you things that you&rsquoll like or find interesting. We do have partnerships with affiliates, so The Daily Caller may get a small share of the revenue from any purchase.
We Asked 15 Bartenders: What Will Be the Biggest Cocktail Trends of 2020?
In a country as vast and diverse as America, it’s more than a little challenging to pin down “national” trends. This can be especially true when it comes to cocktails: Drinkers in NYC may be tiring of Old Fashioneds and Aperol Spritzes, while those drinks may be hitting their strides in markets across state lines or time zones. Likewise, while some regions may be embracing the low- and no-ABV revolution, others are more concerned with sustainability in terms of ingredient sourcing and usage. As with other fashions, it’s all very subjective.
To parse what might be on the horizon for 2020, VinePair asked 15 bar industry professionals across the U.S. what they think will define cocktail culture next year. Highlighting the wonderful diversity of our nation, here are their responses.
“This is going to be the year sustainability goes fully mainstream and deeper than just paper straws. Industry leaders like Claire Sprouse and the Trash Tiki crew have been proving to people that sustainable practices are not only good for the environment, but also good for a bar’s bottom line. This is the year that it’s truly gonna hit the tipping point.” — Erick Castro, Co-Founder, Raised By Wolves and Polite Provisions, San Diego, CA
“A return to classics, simplicity, flavor, and quality spirits. The tricks and gadgets are on the way out we’re seeing it in food trends, cocktails will follow.” — Johnny Swet, Mixologist and Co-owner, Jimmy at The JAMES, New York, NY
“Less common spirits like soju, poitín, genever, and baijiu will continue to be showcased on creative cocktail menus in big markets. Highballs are going to make a comeback, but with an emphasis on quality and execution.” — Chris Hamilton, Head Bartender, The Katharine Brasserie & Bar at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, Winston-Salem, NC
“Brandy: It’s the last frontier of spirits. American fruit-based spirits, in particular, are getting better and better.” — Bryan Schneider, Beverage Director, Quality Eats, New York, NY
“I think the cocktail trends to look for in 2020 will be people using salt or ingredients that give cocktails more of an umami flavor. Boozy, citrus, and sweet have been done again and again, but I think people are afraid to hit that umami flavor or aren’t sure how to execute it.” — Tommy Householder, Bartender, Watershed Kitchen + Bar, Columbus, OH
“The reinvention of chain-restaurant cocktails. Bartenders have conquered the classics, now they will take on the drinks that blenders and sour mix set out to destroy. Welcome back, Mudslide. Find a place to sit, Sex on the Beach. We’ll be right with you, Tequila Sunrise. Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri party of one, your table is ready.” — Josh Gandee, Beverage Director at Watershed Kitchen + Bar, Columbus, OH
“After seeing the rise of vermouths and bitters beyond the major brands we’ve known for years, I’m predicting a surge in popularity of local spirits. Here in NYC, more and more places seem inclined to spend a little more on New York spirits rather than importing [other], more famous counterparts. … Some of the bars and restaurants around town have backbars that are mostly foreign to me, even after over 10 years in this business. Bring on the diversity!” — Thomas Spaeth, Head Bartender, Raines Law Room, New York, NY
“I think ‘spirit frees’ will become an even larger trend in 2020. In fact, I believe that carefully crafted non-alcoholic drinks are beyond a trend, and [are] here to stay.” — Julia Momose, Partner and Creative Director, Kumiko, Chicago, IL
“As we continue the third generation coffee movement in the U.S., I expect to see a celebration of specialty coffee in cocktail bars. … Breathing new life to old caffeinated cocktails is an easy pivot that the large majority of Americans can get excited about. [It will] allow creative bartenders a whole new world of possibilities.” — Stephen Kurpinksy, Former Bar Director, Hundred Proof President, USBG San Diego Chapter, San Diego, CA
“I have a feeling we will see a comeback of the popular ‘90s classic cocktails. Just like fashion, cocktails circle back around. We might start seeing drinks like the Cosmo, Metropolitan, and the Appletini. There will likely be twists, with better quality spirits, and maybe fresh cranberries instead of cranberry juice cocktail, but I really think you will start seeing these cocktails pop again.” — Lara Lowenhar, Beverage Director, La Pecora Bianca, New York, NY
“We’re going to continue to see more simple cocktails [made from] just two to three ingredients. To express ourselves from a creative aspect, bartenders will continue to focus effort on the prep side, incorporating more complex and concentrated flavors into housemade mixers. There will be more spirit blending as well. And sherry, lots and lots of sherry.” — Dan Oskey, Co-founder, Tattersall Distilling, Minneapolis, MN
“Our industry is leaning [toward] a more inclusive bar scene as we grow throughout the years. The addition of low-ABV and no-ABV cocktails on menus is growing steadily and I hope to see that trend continue to thrive in 2020. I think that bars are about creating community and experiences, and having a cocktail menu as varied as your guests is important.” — Crystal Chasse, Head Bartender, Il Fiorista, New York, NY
“I believe we will see a bigger push in 2020 for ultra-premium rum. People are really starting to get excited about limited releases by companies like Foursquare and The Real McCoy, [which is] creating a Pappy Van Winkle hoarding frenzy!” — Kenneth McCoy, Chief Creative Officer, The Rum House, New York, NY
“I think you’ll see a bit of a return to perfecting classic cocktails, and, more importantly, the technique and application in the next year. The metaphorical pendulum has swung way out into the bizarre for a while, and I think we’re coming back to center with the Negroni, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Collins, but with fewer frills. That’s my bet.” — Matt Catchpole, General Manager, Terra, Columbia, SC
“A big 2020 trend in cocktails will be a focus on simplification and purity of flavor. Bartenders have become really confident using tools and methods that were typically reserved for the kitchen in years past. This has allowed for extremely focused, unique, and manipulatable flavor extraction that begs to be the centerpiece of a drink. Look for two- and three-ingredient cocktails that rely on strong culinary techniques [pushing] their way onto more and more menus.” — Sean Umstead, Owner/Mixologist, Kingfisher, Durham, NC
The Old Goat (Hershel’s, The Stella Hotel, Bryan, Texas)
Influenced by the bar’s namesake Hershel Burgess, a prominent running back for the Texas Aggies on the 1927 national champion team, this drink combines two of his favorite things: bourbon and a bite of apple. Texas honey crisp apples are added to a jar of bourbon along with a cinnamon stick and whole clove, which are removed after three days, though the bourbon and apples macerate for three more weeks. It’s served on the rocks and garnished with an apple wedge.
Polite Provisions: Expertly Crafted Cocktails - Recipes
Watermark takes a culinary approach to the art of the cocktail. Our drink menus are expertly crafted by talented mixologists and vary with the seasons and availability of ingredients. Recipes are followed faithfully to ensure consistency and quality.
Many of our specialty cocktails are made with spirits infused in-house all juices are freshly squeezed our ginger beer is made from scratch - and jigger measures are used to ensure accurate pouring.
Our wine list is the product of a close collaboration with our in-house sommelier and is selectively edited down to highlight the versatility of the world’s premier wine growing regions, while offering a broad range of tastes.
Our bottled beer list consists of popular house staples – as well as a rotating selection of seasonal beers from top micro-breweries.
We also offer a range of low and nonalcoholic cocktails, teas, coffees, espressos and soft drinks.
Polite Provisions: Expertly Crafted Cocktails - Recipes
“The world was never more ready for ready to drink cocktails than today. and the industry has responded in a huge way, literally overnight hundreds have sprung forward into the marketplace. In the midst of all of this fervor and ingenuity, Crafthouse is still on the cutting edge. and most of all corners the market on deliciousness!!”
- Bradlee Bartram, OTG
“The Rolls-Royce of ready-to-drink cocktails, Crafthouse is the epitome of luxury in the market today. No detail was left untouched, no production method untested every aspect of the cocktails were rigorously tested and triple checked which is something my clientele expect these days. Luxury is in the finest of details which is why I chose Crafthouse for the featured RTD of Sea Island Resort. Truly a world class company, built by world class people that I am proud to represent on my property.”
- Nic Wallace, Sea Island Resort Lead Bartender
Crafthouse is an outstanding example — leading the way on what “ready-to-drink” cocktails can be. Made from great ingredients, the Crafthouse line up is accessible, affordable and available across the country, truly giving the cocktail enthusiast an opportunity to serve delicious drinks anytime, anyplace. The business and recipes are developed by award-winning bartender Charles Joly and industry-veteran Matt Lindner, providing that daily stamp of approval, and quality control. As a supplier in the Crafthouse Old Fashioned, Bittered Sling Bitters is a proud professional and personal friend to the business. Long live great drinks!”
- Lauren Mote & Jonathan Chovancek, Owners, Bittered Sling Bitters