Mind Your Manners
Polite Provisions combines American pastimes
Erick Castro of San Diego's Polite Provisions | Johnny Utah cocktail
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).
Stars and stripes...and bubbles...forever.
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