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How Perfectly Clear Ice Makes It to Your Fancy Cocktail

A lot more goes into making a large cube, sphere, or column of ice than meets the eye 

“If you’re going to pay top dollar for a superior cocktail,” says Hundredweight Big Ice owner Richard Boccato, “then the frozen water that goes into that cocktail should be as important an ingredient as everything else that goes into it.” The “frozen water” he is referring to is what most people would call an ice cube. But Boccato’s cubes are no ordinary straight-out-of-the-tray pieces of ice. They’re on an entirely different level.

Boccato and his team at Hundredweight Big Ice begin work as early as 5 a.m. in large, temperature controlled rooms set to freezing. They work under these conditions to create a quality — not to mention highly perishable — product, taking painstaking measures to freeze, cut, and sculpt perfectly clear ice cubes, spheres, and columns. The team then ships over 10,000 pounds of ice per day, six days a week to some of New York City’s top cocktail bars.

In Boccato’s early days as a bartender at highly regarded NYC bars like Milk & Honey and Little Branch, it was up to him and the other bartenders to freeze their own blocks of ice. “Clarity wasn’t necessarily the focus back then, it was more about size, shape, and temperatures,” he explains.

It was only after opening Dutch Kills, Boccato’s award-winning cocktail bar in Long Island City, that he learned his ice-sculpting neighbors at Okamoto Studio had a thing or two to teach him and his co-owner about the possibilities of clear frozen water and what it could do for their cocktails.

Check out the Vendors video to see the full ice creation process, and learn more about the form and functions of Hundredweight Big Ice’s product.

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