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Outsourcing Is In

Simplify, simplify, simplify. 

Blind Tiger Ice 


Read more about the future of cocktails.

You know those clear, two-plus-inch ice cubes laboriously cut down from giant sculpture blocks, usually onsite at the bar with a variety of power tools? They’re a pain in the glass. Between ice cutting and other prep work like squeezing citrus juice, making syrups, and assembling batches and infusions, it’s amazing that bartenders aren’t exhausted by the time their bars open at 5 p.m.

That’s why two new companies are helping to curtail all the prep. Blind Tiger Ice, a spin-off of Portland’s PDX Ice, has set up shop in San Mateo to cut up those big sexy cubes, spheres, spears, and other chunks of ice engraved with custom logos and deliver them to bars in the city and the South Bay at reasonable-enough rates.

At the same time, the founders of Super Jugoso (coincidentally, also a Portland spin-off) figured out how to legally squeeze citrus juice and deliver it unpasteurized to bars, along with a choice of more than 50 syrups. Super Jugoso has signed on bars including Bellota and Hard Water, whose bar managers both sing the praises of the syrups; at Nopalito, bar manager Yanni Kehagiaris is more interested in lime juice for the margaritas ($12). The Proper Hotel buys both juice and syrups for its lobby restaurant, Villon, and rooftop bar, Charmaine’s. Kehagiaris says that using the service will not only allow his bartenders to spend less time prepping and juicing when they could be serving customers: It may also reduce repetitive motion injuries. Plus, he says, the delivered product actually tastes better than the rotary-juicer-squeezed lime juice they had been prepping onsite.

These services should be invisible to drinkers, but your favorite local bartenders may start out their shifts a lot happier.

Next: The Mission is still booming.


Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco 

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