Despite overcoming humble roots, Erick Castro has gone on to build a virtual cocktail empire, San Francisco’s Rickhouse and Bourbon & Branch by searching for obscure recipes, methods and ingredients that originated prior to Prohibition. The bartending behemoth has created unique beverage programs that have earned a place on some of the nation’s most coveted lists, including Esquire’s Best Bars in America, Food & Wine’s “World’s Top Bars” and countless nominations at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in New Orleans, and was recognized by the StarChefs organization as “Rising Star Mixologist” in 2010.
Later that year, he joined Pernod Ricard as the Plymouth & Beefeater West Coast Brand Ambassador, which lead to two consecutive nominations for Brand Ambassador of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail for 2011 & 2012. In 2013, Castro partnered up with Southern California’s hospitality collective, CH Projects, to launch Polite Provisions –which quickly received accolades such as Imbibe magazine’s Cocktail Bar of the Year 2014 and Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Bars, and was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2016.
In 2014, he teamed up with the team behind Cocktail Kingdom to create Boilermaker in New York City, where it quickly earned a reputation as an East Village hangout with incredible cocktails. The bar has since been featured in periodicals such as the Wall Street Journal and Wine Enthusiast, and was recently chosen by New York magazine as Best Serious Cocktails in New York City.
In 2016, Castro’s bar Polite Provisions was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program, as well as a Spirited Award at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Since then, he directed and co-wrote the award-winning documentary, Bartender at Large, which has screened around the world in over 30 cities.