Kathryn Weatherup may be one of the few women who would consider “ice queen” as a compliment.
The title is a nod to her passion for the magic that ice can work on cocktails. At her two Weather Up bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan, ice is considered as important as any pricey liqueur.
“We have a heavy investment in our ice program,” she says, including a Clinebell ice-making machine in the Tribeca location and “a guy in the basement who makes ice,” ranging from perfect Japanese- style spheres to rectangular spears for tall Collins-style drinks. “He has a chainsaw, wears fisherman pants, (and) chisels ice. He’s integral to what we do here.”
Why focus on the ice? In short, because it impacts the drinks, she says: how fragile the drink is, how much it can be shaken, and how soon it needs to be served.
In her quest to find the perfect ice, Weatherup’s partner, Richie Boccato, consulted Shintaro Okamoto, a Queens ice sculptor, who recommended the Clinebell to create strikingly “dead clear” ice.
“You could read the newspaper through your Old Fashioned glass,” she says in her English Midlands accent. “It’s mad beautiful.”
By the way, don’t expect a Bible-size cocktail list at Weatherup’s bars. The drink list spans just seven items.
“We make classic cocktails,” Weatherup says firmly, defining “classic” as a straightforward combination of liquor, sweetener and citrus, and of course, ice.
For Kathryn Weatherup’s famed Champs-Elysées recipe, click here.