• Hisashi Kishi’s ba

    Hisashi Kishi’s bar spoon for beginners

  • Hisashi Kishi’s ba

    Hisashi Kishi’s bar spoon for beginners

  • Hisashi Kishi’s ba

    Hisashi Kishi’s bar spoon for beginners

Hisashi Kishi’s bar spoon for beginners

Take a close look at Hisashi Kishi’s bar spoon and you’ll spot something unusual: a stainless steel sleeve covering part of the spiral shaft. Two little red silicon rings hold it in place. It’s not there for decoration. Mr Kishi has redesigned the bar spoon with technique in mind.

To understand the design, it helps to know the man. He’s chairman of the Nippon Bartenders’ Association, a 5-time Japan cocktail champion, a former world champion, and owner of one of the most hallowed drinking spots in Japan: Star Bar.

Like most of his peers in Tokyo’s exclusive Ginza district, Kishi believes a stir should be smooth and silent. “The spoon has to glide in a perfect circle to make a delicious drink,” he says. “And the back should stay flush to the glass.”

If you hear the ice clinking, you’re doing it wrong.

In 1996, the year he won the International Bartenders Association title, Kishi came up with an idea for a better bar spoon. He realised that if you hold a sleeve rather than the shaft of the spoon, it will rotate naturally and effortlessly. Amateurs and professionals alike can stir perfectly every time.

He made a prototype with a slice of a plastic straw and a couple of rubber bands. Sixteen years later he had a patent and a model he could sell.

Like many bar spoons, Kishi’s creation has a spiral shaft. “I think most spoons are designed that way because it’s cheaper to produce than a cylindrical shaft. That’s why I chose it at first, too, but luckily it also works better since there’s less surface contact inside the sleeve.”

Suntory web shopor at Star Bar.

Meanwhile, Kishi has his eye on other bar tools. “I think there might be a better shape for shakers,” he says. Watch this space.

Star Bar
1-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku,Tokyo.
+81-3-3535-8005


Nicholas Coldicott has been writing about Japanese drinks and bars for over a decade. He's the former editor of Eat Magazine, former drink columnist for the Japan Times, and former contributing editor at Whisky Magazine Japan.