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Perfecting an Ice-to-Spirits Ratio

June 23, 2011 | Frank Bonanno

The philosophy in this generation of bartending may seem new, but the verbiage–fresh, crafted, seasonal, local, paired–well, that’s familiar territory. It’s an honorable tribute to generations old techniques and recipes in both cooking and drink-making.

I knew Adam Hodak was serious about his cocktail programs when our tool bags were sitting side by side. Interestingly, a lot of his tools are for shaping ice–add those to thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment that rolls out perfect spheres and giant blocks, and, well–that’s a whole other deal. . .

Looks like a tribute to generations old techniques.


The chainsaw runs on vegetable oil to keep the equipment food-safe and prevent the ice from being tainted by fumes.

It’s stabbed further into submission to attain roughly the size and shape of a salt brick for service.

Or a prehistoric diamond, which gets smacked with this disc-on-a-stick tool until the sound waves gently crack the ice into the perfect size to sink into a tumbler of spirits. (If the ice needs crushing, the bartenders bang it in lined bags against the brick wall.)

That may seems like a whole lotta work to get to this.

A drink that is clean and pure, cold but not watered down in the least, one in which subtle flavor notes sing to a buzz that doesn’t burn–and that?
A lot of time and effort to achieve a perfectly executed product? Well, that I totally understand.