Dark Days, Horchata and Pozole: Drinking With Erick Castro

This week, we go “Drinking With” Erick Castro of Boiler Room in the East Village and Polite Provisions who we got to hang with at the Negroni Week kickoff party at the Happiest Hour. While their were some really good Negronis there, his certainly stood out as a favorite.

Prior to Castro opening his own venues, he worked places like Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse in San Francisco and as a Brand Ambassador for Plymouth and Beefeater Gins. Read on for more about Erick and his favorite drinks.

Favorite NYC place to hang out over a drink when you’re not working?

Although, I have several favorite places to go, I so often find myself in Amor y Amargo that it has a special place in my heart. Always a good time and because of its size it always feels so intimate, which means you get lots of facetime with the bartenders.

What is your GO TO drink when you are out?

Negronis and Old-Fashioneds. No question about it.

What was your first job in the industry?

I used to bus tables at a restaurant in my hometown when I was 14. I got an itch for hospitality at a young age and I have been hooked ever since.

What was your “a-ha” moment, when you realized that this was absolutely for you?

My first a-ha moment was without a doubt when I was getting ice and garnishes for the bartender when I was 14 and realized that he was the one having the most fun and making the most money in the whole joint. My first thought, was how do I get back there?

Do you drink coffee or Tea? Where do you go and how many times a week?

Coffee every morning and iced tea all day long. I consider the both of them a way of life for me and I don’t understand how people could live without them.

What’s your hangover remedy?

A giant heaping bowl of pozole with all the fixings: lime, avocado, cilantro, onions, cabbage & whole lot of Tapatio hot sauces. Also, an frosty cold Tecate with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt.

So what are you into right now when it comes to cocktails?

I am fascinated with the dark days of cocktails. The 70s, 80s and 90s had a lot of incredible bartenders, but they were handicapped with a general lack of quality ingredients. Needless to say, they made some wonderful concepts for drinks that just need a little injection of high-end cordials and fresh juice.

When you are creating cocktails do you think of the liquor you want to use first or the taste that you are going for? What is your process?

I typically begin by thinking of flavors that go together and approach it purely from the mindset of what do I want to drink. It is a creative process just like any other and I do my best to create an environment that nurtures creative thought & action.

What is your favorite spot when you want to be low-key or date?

Taqueria St. Marks is my place for getting away and hitting the reset button. There is something about a plate of Chorizo and Eggs and a Horchata that helps bring me back to my roots. This is the comfort food of my people, and Taqueria St Marks never fails to hit the spot.

What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

In all honesty, I am most proud of the work that I have done recently with Follow Liter, an online series that I put together with the crew from Kinda Funny. It has been very inspiring for me to be able to spread the love for cocktails to so many people all around the world with some fun videos on YouTube.

Follow Erick Castro

Twitter: @HungryBartender

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