Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sloe Down

As summer winds down and we start looking forward to Autumn I thought we should enjoy at least one more refreshing gin based drink.  Here in Houston the heat lasts for a lot longer as well so it's easy to justify.  Something like a classic and simple Tom Collins, with gin, lemon and fizz.  It’s like grown-up lemonade and great for poolside sipping.  I also have a beautiful bottle of Greenhook Ginsmith’s Beach Plum Gin, gifted from a good friend, and any excuse to add that is a good excuse.  Beach plum gin is a unique variation on classic sloe gin, the British autumn staple, but since it’s beach plum we can happily call this a (late) summer drink.  

Beach Plum Sloe Gin Fizz

Let’s back up a bit and explain sloe gin, first of all.  As the story goes, sometime in early 17th century Britain, the Enclosure Act began a land ordinance which divided public lands into private farmsteads.  Borders were established via hedgerows of Blackthorn, which produced the tart sloe berry each autumn.  It wasn’t long before these found their way into the abundant gin production of the day and viola, sloe gin was born.  Like Italian lemoncello, sloe gin is still best found as a homemade family recipe in small batches, but there are a few companies now mass producing delicious versions for all of us. 

Creative Secret Box 1 "Snail"

Sloeing things down a bit on the puzzling side as well, I present the “Snail” box, a collaborative effort from the Karakuri Creation Group.  This one is from their “Creative Secret Box” series, an initiative they developed to bring new and unusual mechanisms and movements to the classic looking puzzle box.  The Snail box, the first in the series, was designed by Shiro Tajima and crafted by Tatsuo Miyamoto.  It features the colorful and abstract yosegi design patterns seen on all of the creative secret series puzzle boxes.  

Colorful abstract patterned yosegi

I love the mechanism on this one.  It’s very simple, but very clever and may take you awhile to discover.  It certainly utilizes a movement and concept not seen prior to its creation.  It’s well hidden and must have required perfect precision to create. So slow down while exploring this one, no rush – you might even say, go at a snail’s pace.

For the Sloe Gin Fizz you can go a little faster, it’s quick and simple to make.  But then take your time enjoying it – you can easily complete this solution in a few seconds if you’re not showing some restraint!  Here’s to the late days of summer winding down.  Slow down and enjoy them before they’re all gone again for a year. Cheers!


Sloe down and enjoy a few more good summer memories

Sloe Gin Fizz (from the PDT Cocktail book by Jim Meehan)

1 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Sloe Gin (I used Greenhook’s Beach Plum Gin)
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
3 oz sparkling water or club soda

Shake all ingredients except soda water over ice and strain into a tall glass.  Top with the soda water and pause for a while.

For more information about the Karakuri Creation Group:


For prior boxes by Shiro Tajima please see:

For prior boxes by Tatsuo Miyamoto please see:

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