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Cold comfort on steroids: These Vegas drinks come with hand-carved ice chunks (Don't call them cubes!)

Cutting-edge technology has arrived at a bar-restaurant along the Las Vegas Strip.

It's not about the newest sound system or a laser-lighted dance floor; I'm talking about a good old-fashioned saw.

Guests at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar inside The Venetian no longer are served cocktails with perfectly-square cubes from an ice machine. Bartenders now deploy an ice saw to carve chunks of ice in various shapes and sizes.

Their bosses are betting customers will appreciate the fact that cocktails are far less diluted when served with a single chunk of ice rather than smaller cubes that melt more quickly.

Each day, bartenders use a 21-inch Japanese saw to cut chunks from giant blocks of ice. Their novelty shapes include 2.5-inch squares, 5-inch-long "rocks" and 3-inch spheres. (The balls also require the use of a chisel.)

The various hand-carved pieces are then paired to specific drinks.

Yardbird also enhances the taste of certain cocktails by serving them with flavored pieces of ice. The creations include cucumber cubes, Dijon-and-thyme cubes, and ice made from the brine of blue cheese-stuffed olives.

The adjoining restaurant pays homage to down-home Southern cooking. The original location in Miami Beach has received numerous accolades.


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