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Mixologist Takaaki Hashimoto of B Flat – New York, NY
Takaaki Hashimoto
B Flat
277 Church St
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-2970
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The Jade by Mixologist Takaaki Hashimoto of B Flat – New York, NY
Uni Foam Technique

Technique: Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes
Mixologist Takaaki Hashimoto of B Flat – New York, NY
June 2009

While ice performs the essential functions of chilling and diluting a cocktail, it should also contribute an aesthetic quality if served inside the glass. The craft of hand-sculpting ice is not commonly practiced behind Western-hemisphere bars, although it can be found at B Flat, a dim basement jazz bar in New York City’s Tribeca. There, a crack team of bartenders (all veterans of New York cocktail landmark, Angel’s Share) practice the Zen art of Japanese-style mixology.

At B Flat, Mixologist Takaaki Hashimoto excels in the discipline of carving ice cubes into stunning “jewels” and spheres. His tools of choice are unusual for a bartender: A trio of razor sharp sashimi knives are put to the test against frozen slabs of filtered water (purified with the in-house Pi filtration system). Hashimoto uses the heavy blade of his large Deba sashimi knife to break down the large rectangular slabs of ice into rough chunks. These are turned into perfectly square cubes with his long, straight-tipped Tako knife.

To create the jewel shape, Hashimoto uses the Tako knife to shave each face and ridge of the ice cube until he sculpts the number of desired facets. For the sphere shape, he takes the process one step further, cutting smaller facets into the cube at angles until it reaches a round shape. Finally, Hashimoto uses a paring knife to lightly hack at any imperfections until the multi-faceted chunk of ice becomes a flawless sphere.

Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes on Starchefs.com
Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes on Starchefs.com
Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes on Starchefs.com
Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes on Starchefs.com
Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes on Starchefs.com
Hand-Sculpted Ice Cubes on Starchefs.com
+ click images to enlarge
   

For the Jewel:
Step 1: Using the blunt edge of the Deba knife, cut the ice slab into a rough cube.
Step 2: Using the Tako knife, slice downwards on each face until straight and smooth.
Step 3: Slice downwards on each ridge of the cube, creating 4 more facets.
Step 4: Slice downward on each corner, creating 8 more facets.
Step 5: Transfer to a rocks glass and, with a bar spoon, stir until the surfaces are smooth.

For the Sphere:
Step 1: Follow Steps 1 through 3 for the Jewel technique above.
Step 2: Hold the Tako knife at a 45º angle and chip at the bottom of the cube, turning it all the way around.
Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for the top of the cube.
Step 4: Using the paring knife, chip at the irregular edges until the ice is spherical.
Step 5: Transfer to a rocks glass and, with a bar spoon, stir until the surface is smooth.

Video

The Jade
Mixologist Takaaki Hashimoto of B Flat – New York, NY
Adapted by StarChefs.com
June 2009
Yield: 1 Cocktail


INGREDIENTS

Cocktail:
1½ ounces Mekhong Rum
1/3 ounce Cointreau
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon blue curaçao
1 drop Angostura Bitters
1 carved ice cube
Tonic water

To Assemble and Serve:
1 lime peel
1 cucumber skin
1 teaspoon gold flakes

METHOD

For the Cocktail:
In a shaker, combine the rum, Cointreau, lime juice, curaçao and bitters. Add the carved ice cube to a chilled rocks glass. Shake and strain the mixture into the glass and top with tonic water.

To Assemble and Serve:
Spear the lime and cucumber skin on a toothpick. Sprinkle the lime and cucumber with gold flakes and arrange the toothpick inside the glass.

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  • Mixologist Takaaki Hashimoto Photo Gallery
  • Mixologist Shinichi Ikeda Photo Gallery


  •   Published: June 2009
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