This Bartender's Ice Sculpting Is Oddly Satisfying

The skills that one Japanese bartender has for hand-sculpting ice has many in awe. Featured in a video on Reddit, he's seen shaping a block of ice into what resembles a sharp diamond. What makes it so mesmerizing? Maybe we are all experiencing a little pagophagia — a need to chew ice — but there is also something strangely satisfying about watching an oversized cube being chopped up into something so sparkly. And the ice shavings that are left behind could even be utilized to cool down a beverage as well.

The concept of ice faceting is not new. Per Men's Journal, videos like this one, which has generated 26,000-plus likes from the Reddit community thus far, have been floating around the internet for almost a decade. But, the article also shares that the art of Japanese ice faceting is actually a "necessity" since bars in the country generally don't have ice machines. While there is plenty of ice on hand for the bartenders to make into creative works for every drink, travelers that visit Japanese bars can also enjoy the added bonus of watching them sculpt it.

The bartender's mini ice sculptures are works of art

This Reddit post is a great example of why the art form is so intriguing. One Redditor wrote in the comments, "I wouldn't trust myself to not cut my fingers off lol," while another echoed that sentiment, saying, "Knife that sharp + fingers numbed from ice ... Yeah you better be an expert." Still, viewers who made it past the bartender's knife skills were intrigued by the pile of feather-like ice shards left behind, too. One member offered, "I'll take the ice shavings in my drink." And there were those who wondered, "How does he not have ice burns?!?!" 

But, there's more to this to know about the trick. Neyah White, a whiskey specialist at Scottish whiskey company Whyte & Mackay, told Men's Journal that people who want to experience a Japanese bartender faceting ice should know it's about more than the drink. As White said, "You go because you're a patron of the arts." White also explained that the bartenders aren't just making shapes willy-nilly. Sometimes, the ice size and shape are about proper "dilution" and "aeration."

As well, per a post on Intercontinental Hotel & Resorts blog, it's said what we're really experiencing when we watch the Japanese bartender at work is "omotenashi." They define this word as a holistic approach to hospitality and explain that the bartender wants you to leave with more than just having a drink, but rather an entire experience, including the ice faceting. All we can say is: mission accomplished.