When visiting Japan, tourists often make ramen and sushi the top priorities on their culinary explorations. But the country’s cocktail scene is not one to be overlooked—and that’s especially the case with Hidetsugu Ueno, the bartender and owner of Bar High Five.
image/text credit: Munchies
Nestled on the fourth floor of an office building in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood, Mr. Hidestsugu, with intense focus and attention to detail, concocts libations worthy of any cocktail pilgrimage. And if you’re lucky enough score a seat in this tiny bar, you will certainly see why.
While every Japanese bartender starts to cultivate their own particular shaking style before they even step behind the stick, it is the “hard shake,”. Ironically, it’s far from a vigorous shake, and just one of a range of eight or nine styles of shake Japanese bartenders have in their repertoire.
Each is designed to aerate the cocktail in different ways, while creating differently sized and even-shaped shards of ice that form a delicate layer on the surface of the drink.To watch a Japanese master bartender in action is to witness a restrained grace that’s as elegant as a ballet.