The perfect cure for cabin fever? Cocktails, sharks and 50,000 pounds of ice.
Yes, sharks. For Bedford Village Inn’s third annual Ice Bar, General Manager Jon Carnevale said he got a little selfish.
“I am a huge fan of Shark Week. Sharks are neat … when you’re not swimming right next to them. We’ve incorporated that element to make it a little more dramatic,” he said.
So shark ice sculptures it is, along with mermaids and other sea creatures, and an ice replica of event sponsor Svedka Vodka’s mascot, a fembot. Behind the three ice bars, Svedka’s vodka will be flowing.
From Tuesday, Jan. 29, through Saturday, Feb. 2, guests are admitted to the outdoor Ice Bar for a $5 cover and can then purchase tokens for drinks and food. Alongside Svedka, Tuckerman’s Brewing Company will offer some new beer selections.
“This is just a fun thing that is something completely different than what we normally do. People come and get out of the house, into the cold, and it actually takes their minds off of the grueling winter,” Carnevale said.
Attendance and the net ice weight (2011, 10,000 pounds; 2012, 30,000 pounds) have both grown during the three year’s of the event and they continue to draw big names in vodka, last year’s sponsor was Stoli.
Despite the other offerings — hearty white and red wines, seasonal Tuckerman’s beer and hot coffee and cocoa drinks — the harder stuff always sells more. Between the chill in the air and on the bar, Carnevale said, icy drinks won’t be hard to come by. Martinis and other classic mixed drinks will be available, and some inspired cocktails will be drawn from Svedka’s portfolio and handled by master mixologists.
Chef Benjamin Knack called it the “BVI Ice Olympics” and lauded the ice sculptors who decorate the area. Knack has been preparing a “Chillin’ Grillin’” menu for the event.
“Usually food’s hot, so grilling goes good with the cold, but it’s more about the experience,” he said. “The menu will be almost like our Tavern offerings, only taken outside.”
Barbecue fare, like sausage and peppers, buffalo wing wraps and chicken, will be prepared and served from a live cooking station on the patio. Working with Tuckerman’s beer, Knack says he’ll also be simmering up a cheddar ale soup.
“Everything needs to complement the experience the atmosphere provides. It’s all about hanging out with friends in a unique place,” he said.
The bar includes a color light show, and there will be music throughout the event. A free shuttle will run from BVI to the Bedford Community Church.
“It’s always a nice time. Everybody gets together, and you can almost smell the release on people having fun in the outdoors,” Carnevale said. “It’s gonna be a good one this year, that’s for sure. It’s really gonna pop.”