Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pillows and Potions

Boxes and Booze is on the road, traveling a bit over the next few weeks.  It seems like a good time to bring out my travel pillow.  This one is from Kyoko Hoshino, one of the very few women crafting puzzle boxes today.  She is a current member of the Karakuri Creation Group from Japan.  She learned the art of kimono making early in her career and applies that skill to her woodworking now - her boxes are unique in their use of cloth and adornments.  Of course she would make a pillow box.

Travel Pillow by Kyoko Hoshino

Wood, leather and ceramic pillows were used throughout the ages in Asia and other regions to support the head and neck.  The geishas of Japan slept on “makura” which supported the neck and kept their elaborate hairstyles intact, for example.  These neck pillows do not appear to have been very comfortable, but I’ve been told that beauty and comfort do not usually go together.  Wooden pillow boxes were commonly used to store valuables as well, kept safely under head at night.  In the Edo period, Japanese travelers and merchants would use similar wooden pillow boxes to store traveling items such as a mirror, an abacus, and even a lantern, with additional secret spaces for documents or money.  These became the impetus for the original puzzle boxes which came out of the Odawara region in Japan over a hundred years ago, the current home of the Karakuri Creation Group.  Hoshino’s lovely recreation is a simpler affair and a bit too small to rest your head upon, but it does include two separate secret chambers and a wonderfully soft velvety top cushion – surely a luxury not seen often in the ancient days.

All the comforts of home while on the road

Let’s sip on something sleepy and equally luxuriant to compliment this travel pillow.  This one comes via star mixologist Joaquin Simo, one of the original bartenders from New York’s innovative Death & Company who has done his share of traveling, including to receive the Best American Bartender of the Year award at Tales of the Cocktail in 2012.   I’ve featured his creations before, including the iconic “Naked and Famous”.  

Pillow Talk by Joaquin Simo

Here, in his “Pillow Talk”, he serves up a complex variation on the Sloe Gin Fizz, another classic I have featured before.  In this version, fresh grapefruit adds a sweet zing and the unique Crème Yvette layers a subtle scent of lavender into the mix.  Cue the jazz, dim the lights, and get cozy.  Cheers!

These pillows can keep a secret

Pillow Talk by Joaquin Simo, Death & Co.

1.5 ounces Beefeater 24 Gin
.25 ounce Plymouth Sloe Gin
.25 ounce Crème Yvette
.75 ounce Grapefruit Juice
.5 teaspoon Vanilla Syrup
Sparkling Rosé

Shake together with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with the sparkling wine and whisper sweet nothings all night long.

For more about Kyoko Hoshino see:

For the Naked and Famous cocktail:


For the Sloe Gin Fizz:

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