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Tales of the Cocktail Preview: The Chainsaw Shift

This is a preview of a seminar that will be given at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, which takes place July 20-24, 2011.

The Chainsaw Shift

There are two seminars this year at Tales about setting up an ice program. I'm pretty sure this one will be the only one with chainsaws though. The other, How to Build a Cutting Edge Ice Program, is part of the professionals series, though both seem geared toward professionals.

I was treated to a preview of sorts of this seminar in San Francisco, as Andrew Bohrer came down and gave bartenders a demo of cutting a huge block of ice into workable blocks at Heaven's Dog. 

For those of you who saw this post on Alcademics in August 2010, the below is a repeat of that post, and hopefully a preview of what we'll witness at Tales. 

Note: there is some NSFW language in the videos along with chainsaw noise.

First they started with the giant block and shaved off slices. 

Then they cut those slices into rectangles

Then they cut those rectangles into cubes.

Then Andrew Bohrer demonstrated cutting an ice cube into an ice sphere using the shaving method.


Then he showed how he makes shaved ice by shaving ice.


Then he showed how he takes a big chunk of ice and with a knife can reduce it down to cubes.


Then Amanda Womack shows how she cuts ice spheres- by tapping at the outside with a knife rather than shaving.



An index of all of the ice experiments on Alcademics can be found here.

The Details:

Time: 10 AM to 11:30 AM
Date: Friday the 22nd of July, 2011
Venue: La Nouvelle Orleans Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone
Moderators: Andrew Bohrer
Panelists: Anu Apte

The Chainsaw Shift is about offering to you a shift in thinking about the buzz phrase, “ice program.” The Chainsaw Shift is the lowest waste, highest quality way to have an, “ice program,” as well as being the simplest way to do so. This seminar is a shift in thinking on how bartenders treat their most essential and common ingredient: ice. Quality ice allows the bartender to reevaluate and reimagine every step of the drink making process and brings new joy and beauty to the simplest cocktails.

This seminar will cover the basics of safely and efficiently processing 300 lb. blocks of crystal clear ice with the aid of carpenter’s tools and a trusty chainsaw. We will also discuss and demonstrate techniques for cutting ice to improve aesthetics and quality of every cocktail. Examples will include in-glass ice sculptures, crushed ice, shaved ice, cracked & cubed ice for mixing and carving spheres, diamonds and other shapes. The Chainsaw Shift will never replace the ice machine; rather it will make every bartender into an ice machine.


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