Saturday, April 2, 2016

Feeling Foolish?

Ahhh, April 1st.  Known in these parts as April Fool’s Day.  There’s something irresistible about trying to fool someone.  And plenty of us enjoy being fooled as well.  It’s part of the enjoyment of a great puzzle box, to be sure, as well as any number of other puzzle types.  The tradition goes back for centuries, with various accounts of when it all started.  The Romans celebrated “Hilaria” at this time of year by dressing up in costumes, which you have to admit is hilarious.  Mother nature plays tricks on us with the weather right about now, so it’s likely the Pagans were already laughing at the Romans in their own way.  Many accounts suggest that when the modern day Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar in 1582 France, those who did not get the message and continued celebrating the new year on April 1 were made into laughingstock and called “poisson d’ avril” (April “fish”, the original April fools?).    

What's this twisty cube doing at Boxes and Booze?

We all like a good laugh, and perhaps a bit of schadenfreude too, so it’s no wonder the holiday has stood the test of time.  I’m sure I didn’t fool anyone with the temporary change of name from “Boxes and Booze” to “Twisties and Tonics” on April 1, but perhaps it got Kevin Sadler excited.  He loves a good twisty puzzle, and a good tonic with gin, for that matter.  I’ll admit I’m no stranger to the Rubik’s cube, and have also included some “not exactly a box” puzzles on these pages in the past (see here, here and even the very first post ever, here).  But I’ll stick with my puzzle boxes, despite this post’s initial appearances.  The twisty Rubik’s cube-esque puzzle presented here today is actually a puzzle box, so don’t be fooled.  Well, it’s actually both a twisty cube puzzle AND a puzzle box, designed by the prolific and brilliant Dutch scientist and puzzle inventor Oskar van Deventer.  

Oskar's Treasure Chest by Oskar van Deventer - solved!

Oskar has invented hundreds of puzzles and games and even holds a Guinness World Record for his 17x17x17 cube, which is a mind boggling thing to imagine.  His designs have been mass produced by different companies the world over, and it’s likely you have tried one at some point whether you know it or not.  “Oskar’s Treasure Chest” looks and functions just like the more famous 3x3 twisty cube puzzle we all know and love, but with an added surprise bonus.  Once solved, the top of the puzzle actually opens, like a lid, to reveal a secret compartment inside!  I used to be quite proficient at solving these, and even relearned the steps recently with my children.  I recruited my son to help me solve this one for the pictures (it’s his puzzle, after all!).

And opened! It's a puzzle box!

Continuing the theme brings us to a delicious drink.  Everyone knows how much I love a good vodka cocktail, right?  Especially a bright candy colored one made with sweet syrupy green apple schnapps – Apple Martini, anyone?  Yum!  Wait for it … April Fools!  And if you love that sort of thing, I applaud you and raise my own glass as well.  But if you’ve been a visitor here before you may have noted the distinct absence of vodka based drinks, and certainly no candy coated indulgences – the only martini you’ll find is the historical classic (check it out here).  I’m not against vodka at all, I just tend toward the other spirits.  So what’s going on here?  

Apple Martini, anyone?

This clever concoction was created by Contemporary Cocktails cofounder Aisha Sharpe to fool you into thinking it’s an apple martini, when in reality the bright green color belies a complex modern craft cocktail.  In fact, this is one incredible cocktail, mixing smooth tequila with herbal Chartreuse, fresh basil, sweet ruby red grapefruit and tart lime.  It’s incredibly delicious.  I’d love to be fooled by it all over again soon.  If you have the chance, try it on some unsuspecting friend – someone you like, because it’s so good – or just try it for yourself.    Here’s to being foolish, and having a great time at it.  Cheers!

The April Fool's Martini by Aisha Sharpe - not what you expected!

April Fool’s Martini by Aisha Sharpe:

1.5 oz Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
5 Basil leaves
1 oz Ruby red grapefruit juice
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
Garnish: Thin apple slice or maraschino cherry
Glass: Martini

Muddle the basil lightly with the simple syrup (I muddled a bit vigorously which leads to a murkier color), then add the rest and shake over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and add a slice of apple to complete the charade.

Don't be fooled - these are an incredible pair!

For more about Oskar van Deventer:

For a proper martini, and other variations, please see:
The Little Things
Resistance is Futile
A Little Hanky Panky

For prior Boxes and Booze featuring “non-boxes”(!) please see:
A Blog Awakens ...
All That Glitters

London Calling

1 comment:

  1. I do hope that you solved the cube properly! I have to admit that I was taken in by your ploy initially until I realised what day it was! Go on - try the twisties, you won't regret the initial effort that is required. They are great fun!