He's talked about in bars across New York. His skills are heatedly debated. His cocktail shaking techniques are controversial, either adhered to slavishly or actively doubted.
All this, and Japanese bartender Kazuo Uyeda has never actually been to the U.S. to explain his philosophy!
Until now. Uyeda will make his first New York appear in May, taking part in a two-day seminar. I wrote the following post for the New York Times' Diner's Journal. Read:
Though living and working half a world away, the Japanese bartender and cocktail-shaking philosopher Kazuo Uyeda has managed to inspire many a Manhattan barroom argument. Most of them have centered on what is called the hard shake, an ornate and controversial method of shaking drinks devised by Mr. Uyeda.
Soon, bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts can question the master in person. On May 3 and 5, Mr. Uyeda, 65, will be making what is being billed as his first appearance in New York. The event, which will take place at the Hiro Ballroom in Chelsea, is presented by Cocktail Kingdom, a company run by Gregory Boehm that sells Japanese barware, among other drinking accouterments. Communicating through an interpreter, Mr. Uyeda will explain his barroom philosophy and demonstrate his techniques to anyone willing to pay $675 for the privilege.
Audience capacity is 110. Also speaking will be Stanislav Vadrna, a Slovakia-born disciple of Mr. Uyeda.
Simultaneous with the seminar, Mud Puddle Books, an imprint owned by Mr. Boehm that specializes in reprinting long-out-of-print cocktail manuals and recipe books, will publish the first English-language version of Mr. Uyeda’s book “Cocktail Techniques.”
Those interested can contact the Cocktail Kingdom’s Web site.
According to the Web site, the ticket price includes admission to both days of the event, an AG cobbler shaker, lunch on both days, cocktails during the event, admission to an after-party on Day 2 with a guest, and other gifts.
I will be attending the seminar. Afterwards, I'll report back on whether the Emperor wears clothes or not.