Saturday, June 3, 2017

Appropriately Knot

I’ve got myself all tied up this week. I’ll try knot to make things worse as I untangle the situation, but you’ve been forewarned.  The Try-Knot Box (Puzzlebox No. 17) from Robert Yarger is another wonderful creation by the mechanical maestro.  One of his more unusually designed pieces, the Try-Knot Box has all the puzzling mechanisms on full display, outside the box.  Three striking looped bands encircle the inner box in three directions, one nested within the other.  The bold bands are crafted in contrasting yellowheart and wenge wood, and have little purpleheart buttons which slide along a track inside each band.  

Try-Knot Box by Robert Yarger

At the heart of this knot is a rectangular box made from shimmering leapardwood.  The box has a maze etched into three of its sides, which must be navigated in coordinated fashion requiring alignment of multiple bands at a time. Careful planning must be made to free the box inside enough to allow each of the two compartments to open.  In classic fashion, Robert has arranged the mazes to require going all the way back in the opposite direction to open each compartment, making the challenge twice as hard.  Like a true knot, even with everything on display, picking this one apart is not as simple as it might appear.  If you get the chance, give this knot a try – it’s another impressive piece of puzzling art from the versatile man of sticks.

Bold bands of exotic wood encircle the central box

To toast this knotty situation I searched for a suitable tipple to tie to the theme.  I tried knot to get tangled up in all the rather risqué cocktails I discovered out there along the way.  You might not be surprised to find out that there are many, many variations on the theme of “Thai” cocktails including the “All Thai’d Up”, “Thai Me to the Bedposts” and both the “Thai Me Up” and “Thai Me Down”.  I tried knot to … but I couldn’t help myself.  Which is acceptable, since this post is all about “try not”.  Not do not.  Yoda would not be pleased.  

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down by Gabriella Mlynarczyk

I settled on the “Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down”, a Thai infused masterpiece from bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk who writes the LA Loving Cup cocktail blog.  The cocktail may have a tongue in cheek name, but has serious sophistication, balance and depth which is worthy of this pairing.  For the cocktail, I used Hayman’s Old Tom Gin for a softer, sweeter gin base, and Sayuri “course-filtered” Nigori sake infused with thai basil.  Nigori sake (“cloudy”) is distinguished by its cloudy appearance, due to the retained, unfermented and unfiltered rice particles. It tends to be creamier and sweeter, and lends a wonderful texture to a cocktail.  The Sayuri is delightful in this drink for both flavor and context, as “yuri” in Japanese translates to “lily” but connotes “innocence” and “chastity” - rather ironic in the “Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down”.  Try-knot to get your knickers in a knot as you tie one on – this drink is delicious.  Here’s to enchanted entanglements, lovely loops, heavenly hitches, and talented ties.  Cheers!

Try knot to get all Thai'd up with these ...

Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down by Gabriella Mlynarczyk

1 1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz thai basil infused saki
1 oz lime juice
1 oz kaffir lime leaf simple syrup

2 dashes Miracle Mile Yuzu bitters (sub orange or lemon)

Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with anything that's knot tied down.

For more about Robert Yarger:

For prior Stickman puzzles see:

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