When it comes to drinking establishments in Japan, izakaya (居酒屋), or traditional Japanese pubs (often compared to tapas and gastropubs) reign supreme, but for some time now, the country has been experiencing a boom in upscale classic-style bars, many of which embrace bartending as an artisan craft and bond between customer and server.

Japanese value of apprenticeship means that those most dedicated to their craft don't even begin mixing drinks until after spending years behind the counter simply preparing sophisticated tools (such as shark-skin grating boards used to not bruise wasabi used in cocktails) and shaping perfect spheres of ice. Master Bartender Hidetsugu Ueno perhaps says it best, telling Mixology that "....because we didn’t know anything about the outside for a long time, I guess the Japanese bartender has a much more artisan approach. Like a teacher and student kind of thing – so you listen to the master, you work for the master and are taught by the master".

Many of those aspiring bartenders and mixologists are now masters in their own right, and YouTube channel Bar Times is a fantastic place to observe their relentless attention to detail and preparation when crafting the perfect cocktail for the weary customer. Here are a few fascinating videos that show off everything from ice sculpting to using perfect ingredients with the patented Japanese "hard shake", all to swanky music that will leave you thirsty. Some videos are English-subtitled, but all videos have some English details in the information section and on Instagram.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.