A popular San Diego hotspot known for its creative take on cocktails is now offering entertaining, educational classes designed to teach the fundamentals – and then some – of mixing a seriously solid drink.
Beginning next month, Polite Provisions – a busy, hip watering hole located at 4696 30th St. – will kick off a series of cocktail education classes dubbed the “Spirit Society.”
With master mixologist and general manager Erick Castro at the helm, students will be treated to a hands-on learning experience that includes a personal drink-making workstation boasting every bartending tool and trinket imaginable, from jiggers and strainers to ingredients and glasses.
According to Castro, the two-hour classes – set to run once a month – will be kept small, with a maximum of 12 attendees per session. Castro said this will ensure that he’s able to give each participant one-on-one attention and lots of helpful pointers.
“We think it’s really important to keep the classes small so everyone can learn a lot and get the attention they deserve,” Castro told NBC 7. “My goal is for people to leave with enough knowledge to be able to go home and make cocktails for their family and friends with confidence and, of course, be the life of the party.”
In each class, Castro said participants will make three different cocktails – and get to taste them afterwards. He’ll also stick around after the class for a question and answer session.
Castro said those who are interested in partaking will need to begin by taking “Cocktails 101,” an introductory course that outlines the basics of home bartending by delving into a wide array of cocktails and techniques, as well as tips on how to stock a good bar.
“I’ll also teach you to shake, stir and swizzle – all of the basics,” he explained.
After that, Castro said attendees can sign up for intermediate and advanced classes, which will hone in on specific topics and spirits.
In these more advanced courses, Castro said students will learn more challenging bartending techniques, such as shaking cocktails using egg whites. Also, these classes will explore the fundamentals of balancing the perfect cocktail, which Castro said can be learned, no matter your skill level.
“I always say, if you can put sugar in cream, you can mix a drink. It’s all to taste. You have to trust your palate,” said Castro.
The first “Spirit Society” class in this series begins on Monday, Apr. 7, at 6 p.m. with a “Cocktails 101” class. Additional classes will be held on May 19, Jun. 9, Jul. 7 and Aug. 11. The latter two won’t be a basics class, but rather a “Tiki Cocktails” class and a “Tequila & Mezcal” class, respectively.
Castro said Polite Provisions hopes to continue offering the classes once a month for the remainder of the year. Somewhere in the lineup, he hopes to squeeze in a class dedicated to American whiskey.
The classes cost $60 per person, per session. To learn more, visit the Polite Provisions website.
Now, as for Castro’s own drink of choice, he said that answer is simple: he’s a bourbon man.
Lately, his go-to cocktail has been a classic bourbon Old-Fashioned, so it’s likely that drink will make its way into his lesson plan.