Ending up in a dimly lit bar with a your hand gripping a cocktail is the telltale sign of a good night out in NYC, but if you’re going to pay top dollar for a cocktail then the same attention to detail should be given to the ice in your drink as is to the cocktail itself, at least according to Hundredweight Big Ice owner Richard Boccato.
If you ever wondered where that perfectly crystal clear ice comes from–whether it be cubes, spheres, or spears–Richard Boccato is your answer.
Boccato made his way to Brooklyn from Florence, Italy, where he eventually opened the doors at Long Island City’s Dutch Kills on May 1, 2009. There, they’ve been slinging drinks with crystal-clear block ice hand-cut behind the bar since day one–though this is no ordinary ice, and it’s not the only place in the city you’ll find it either.
Boccato is the man behind the ice found in many cocktails around NYC.
According to Eater, Boccato and his Hundredweight team begin their work day between 5 and 6 a.m. in large, sub-zero temperature controlled rooms.
Though, as chilling as the thought of working in those temperatures is, these conditions are vital to produce their ice, which they “freeze, cut, and sculpt [into] perfectly clear ice cubes, spheres, and spears.”
They produce over 100,000 pounds of ice each week, which then gets shipped to some of NYC’s top cocktail bars. 10,000 pounds of ice is delivered each day, six days a week.
They do have a bit of help though–ice block makers which each produce two 300-pound blocks of ice every 2 days. These machines are harvested 2-3 times per week, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Extra precautions are taken during the ice-making process to ensure the ice achieves top-level transparency, such as filtering the water, using pumps to circulate the oxygen so no bubbles form and freeze within the cube, and freezing the blocks from the bottom up, rather than the usual top down method.
And they even get a bit fancy sometimes–if you’re looking for specialty ice, say cubes with flowers or scorpions frozen in them, they take care of that too!
When Boccato first became a bartender, the “clarity wasn’t necessarily the focus back then,” rather it was more about “size, shape, and temperatures.” Though when you’re paying top dollar for a drink, it’s nice to know that the entire process is thought out, right down to the cubes in your drink.
Boccato, along with Ian Present, brought forth Hundredweight Ice In March 2011. Operating in tandem with Dutch Kills, Hundredweight is the first custom cocktail ice manufacturing and delivery service specifically tailored for bars, restaurants, and special events.
Learn more about Boccato and Hundredweight Big Ice here.