Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tender Bar, Ginza - from wd 6/15/2009

Welcome to Tender Bar, overseen by Mr. Kazuo Uyeda (notice his signature on the cover of the cocktail menu). Mr. Uyeda has been tending bar for 45 years. Proud and proficient, Mr. Uyeda has a keen eye for a properly proportioned drink and takes service very seriously, something that is no doubt appreciated by the older Japanese businessmen who frequent his bar. Indeed foreigners are a rare occurence here, I am told. All the more reason to look around a bit.

The simple back bar here is misleading, as many bottles of gin and vodka are chilled in refrigerated cabinets.

Every guest at Tender Bar is greated with a tasty snack when they sit down.

A nice metal stirrer is given to guests with their drink.

Notice the lapel pin on Mr. Uyeda's jacket. He also runs a cocktail academy, where he teaches the discipline of the "Hard Shake," of which Mr. Uyeda is an acknowledged master. Both up drinks and tall drink (called "long drinks" here) are mixed with very hard (very hard!) shakes in a cocktail shaker filled with the ingredients and ice. A flashy half turn flourish at the end of the pour prevents drips.

Mr. Uyeda plans in a few years time to bring his signature shake to New York, where he hopes to open a small bar in about 3 years. Apparently, he has been planning to do so for quite awhile.

Mr. Uyeda showed me the two kinds of ice he uses: the square ice used for the service of long drinks or short drinks on the rocks, and the chipped ice he uses for shaking. The bartenders were hard at work hand chipping large blocks of ice when I arrived, early in the night's service.

Tender Bar offers a fine selection of Cuban Rums.

This Cuban Rum, which had been ageing in wood casks in a Jerez bodega, was found by the new owners when the sherry house of Valdespino was sold in 1999. The level of complexity offered by this rum was quite high, and it was reminiscent to me of a good XO level cognac, say something by Pierre Ferrand.

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