Saturday, October 10, 2015

On Top

One of the most ambitious collaborative puzzle box projects in recent times was The Apothecary Box, a puzzle chest created by Robert Yarger (aka “Stickman”) which itself holds 12 individual puzzle boxes created by prominent designers from around the world.   Eric Fuller, the brilliant wood worker from North Carolina whose Havana Cigar Boxes #2 and #3 have been featured here previously, contributed one of those individual puzzles, which he named the “Topless Box”.

The Topless Box by Eric Fuller

October 13th is “National No Bra Day” in the US.  Of course, Eric did not create the Topless Box with “No Bra Day” in mind, but perhaps he would not mind having it help raise breast cancer awareness now, which is the true purpose of the day.  Eric has been known to go shirtless on occasion.    The Topless Box is a truly incredible puzzle.  It is a beautifully crafted cube made from striped quartersawn sapele, quilted maple, and paduak woods.  The pale maple shimmers on each end with a lovely luster.  Some initial experimentation reveals that these ends can be removed, exposing a stunning red paduak layer underneath.  The name of the box gives some hint as to how things might be working here, but it is a huge challenge to solve.  The mechanism is pure elegance and very unusual.  This puzzle is extremely satisfying, and seems like a perfect component for the larger collaboration.

How can you come out on top with a topless box?

In his description of the puzzle, Eric points out that a box with no top will, by definition, also have no bottom.  Which brings us to the “Naked and Famous”, a cocktail by 2012's Best American Bartender of the Year while at Death and Company, a legendary, landmark bar in New York City.  The founders at “Death & Co.” describe their name as originating from the fall out after the Volstead act in 1919, commonly known as “prohibition”.  During those dark days, to drink alcohol was to dwell with death and his companions.  Created by mixologist Joaquin Simo, the Naked and Famous pays homage to the classic Last Word cocktail (mentioned previously here) and the Paper Plane, a modern cocktail, with a unique mixture of mezcal, Aperol, yellow Chartreuse and lime juice.  Simo comments that the drink is "the bastard child born out of an illicit Oaxacan love affair" from these two cocktails - oooh.  

The Naked and Famous cocktail by Joaquin Simo

This combination balances perfectly to create a completely new, richly satisfying drink.  It’s also a vibrant reddish orange color which matches nicely with the paduak wood on the Topless Box.  The color is mostly due to the Aperol, Campari’s lighter, more approachable sister aperitif.  Aperol has bright, grapefruit and herbal flavors which are lovely on their own with sparkling water and shine in cocktails like the Naked and Famous.  So whether you are going bra less, topless, or naked, if it’s for a good cause, cheers to that.

Topless or Naked? Cheers!

For more on breast cancer:

For an excellent breast cancer foundation:

For more on Eric Fuller:

For the Naked and Famous cocktail recipe:

For more about Joaquin Simo:

For the incredible Death & Co. cocktail Book:

1 comment:

  1. I have tried to open this box at several puzzle parties and have so far completely failed! Just as well really as it's not pretty when I'm topless!!