Sunday, May 10, 2015


The Pandora secret box is a clever puzzle.  Made of laser cut panels and metal bolts, it has a solid and satisfying feel in your hands and the distinctive smell of laser cut wood.  The puzzle was designed and created by Jürgen Reiche, a prolific puzzle designer of wooden games and puzzles whose inventions are available through Siebenstein-Spiele, a German puzzle shop, as well as other specialty puzzle retailers around the world.  I obtained my particular copy from Mr. Puzzle, a fantastic shop based in Queensland Australia.  Mr. Puzzle is run by Brian and Sue Young.  Brian is well known in the puzzle world for his own incredible puzzle designs and limited editions as well as his high quality productions of other puzzle designers.  I am giving them this unsolicited praise and plug for the excellent customer service I received from them with the Pandora box.  The box is supposed to remain impenetrable until you start to discover its secrets, and then it provides you with tools you will need to use in order to proceed.  It is a sequential discovery puzzle, where all the elements you need are hidden within the puzzle. When I first received this box, I’ll just say that things were loose and revealed themselves without any effort or thought process.  It all seemed far too simple and obvious.  I contacted Mr. Puzzle, and after a few exchanges they simply asked me to send it back so they could see what might be wrong.  Before I had even sent it off, they had packed up a new one and sent it on its way to me.  When I ultimately was able to experience the puzzle as it should be, it was very mysterious, clever, and satisfying.  Thanks Brian and Sue.

Pandora Puzzle Box
Pairing this box with a cocktail proved to be a very fortuitous exercise.  Pandora, as you may know, is a character from Greek mythology.  She was the first human woman created by the gods (Hephaestus and Athena).  As the story goes, she famously opened a jar filled with spirits.  Of course most people recall the story with her opening a box, but originally it was a jar.  A jar filled with spirits.  Why there hasn’t been a cocktail named after her until now appears to be a small Greek tragedy all of its own.  Since she was the first Greek woman, I thought of the pink lady cocktail, another prohibition era classic, made with gin, applejack, lemon juice, simple syrup, grenadine and egg white (if you are put off by the egg white see my Egg blog post).  But since Pandora is no ordinary lady,  I wanted the drink to be specific to her as well.  I substituted the sweet grenadine for Campari, the mildly bitter Italian aperitif with the distinctive red color (originally obtained with crushed cochineal beetles which produced the dye carmine – now, alas, obtained from food coloring).  The bitter liqueur imparts to the drink the bitter spirits released into the world when Pandora opened the jar.  But hope remains – remember? And the Campari, in my humble opinion, makes this classic cocktail shine.  It tastes fantastic and gives the drink a sophisticated balance it doesn’t really have with the original recipe.

The Pandora Cocktail
So as you struggle to open up this Pandora’s box, have hope and sip the Pandora cocktail.  Maybe you can keep the recipe inside.

Don't give up hope - this cocktail is delicious! 

Pandora Cocktail (adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan)
1.5 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Laird’s Applejack
.75 oz simply syrup
.5 oz Campari
1 egg white (pasteurized if you prefer)

Dry shake (no ice) ingredients, then shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass

For the original cocktail:
For the puzzle:


  1. Mmmmm! That looks delicious! The drink looks nice too!


  2. Hi

    Nice Blog

    If anybody looking for wooden games .Visit our website for the best collection of handmade games, gifts and many other items.