Saturday, July 29, 2017

Diamond Sounds

It’s always a treat to discuss one of Kagen Sound’s fine boxes.  He has made a reputation for himself as one of the world’s foremost puzzle box makers.  The description doesn’t quite do justice to his work.  His designs are an evolution of his background in mathematics, and he identifies himself as a mathematician who has channeled that intellectual pursuit into his wood working.  But he is also a formidable master craftsman recognized by his peers around the globe for his skill.  His creations achieve the pinnacle of quality and beauty and can be admired for their form alone as objects of art.  Yet they contain delightful, logical, and often mesmerizing movement within them, to actualize their purpose, and “open”. 

Diamond Box by Kagen Sound

Kagen Sound’s name is also tied to his work and life ethos.  He and his wife changed their last names together when they married, choosing a word which reflects their character and the quality of their life’s work.  It’s a beautiful daily affirmation.  I can see it in the Diamond Box, a true diamond in many ways.  The puzzle box is as elegant as you would expect from this artist, crafted from gorgeous figured west coast big leaf maple and walnut.  It features an ebony diamond centered on the lid, showing through a patterned window.  The box shimmers with the finished polish typically reserved for fine musical instruments.  Playing this instrument takes some practice as well, but once mastered, it sounds like a diamond.

The maker's mark

To toast this sound creation I present the Ruby Diamond, a cocktail created by Matt Ducker, a food and lifestyle multimedia editor and columnist, which combines two unlikely allies – gin and mezcal.  Classic cocktail contain a single “base spirit” – such as gin in your Martini, or rye whiskey in your Manhattan.  Modern mixologists began to combine base spirits in a single drink a while back, producing interesting and unusual results.  Some combinations work better than others, and some just seem like a bad idea – at least in theory.  Gin and Mezcal, surprisingly, work incredibly well together, creating complex layers of flavorful interplay.  The drink is essentially a sour with these unusual base spirits, plus a healthy dose of Italian Amaro to make things truly interesting.  Ducker’s recipe calls for Cappelletti, similar to Campari but less sweet, and I used Meletti, again like Camapari but more complex with added flavors of grapefruit and saffron.  The drink is delicious – a diamond in the rough.

Ruby Diamond by Matt Ducker

Why pair the Diamond Box, with its ebony diamond, with the Ruby Diamond cocktail?  Once you solve the puzzle, and can open the lid, the ebony diamond changes to a vibrant pink ivory in a magical transformation.  It’s a brilliant touch from the master maker.  And that would be that, and it would be enough, if you’re not paying attention.  That’s all I’ll say for now.  Except to say that a secret box with a hidden secret of its own is a diamond indeed.  Cheers!

Two Diamonds in the rough

Ruby Diamond by Matt Ducker

1 ½ ounces gin
1 ½ ounces mezcal
¾ ounce Cappelletti (I used Meletti)
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

¼ ounce fresh orange juice

Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with diamonds and rubies.  Sound nice?

For more about Kagen Sound:

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