Saturday, March 11, 2017

Playing with Fire

Things are really heating up at Boxes and Booze headquarters.  The kindling is ready, the wood and whiskey set out.  Yes, it’s getting warmer here in Houston, but the rain has been putting a damper on that. Looks like we’ll need something to help get it all started … does anyone have a match?

Stickman No. 29 (Matchbox)

Ahhh, I found one.  Here’s a beautiful little matchbook which should help.  It looks like it’s been crafted from gorgeous exotic hardwoods, including redheart, yellowheart, wenge and maple. The matchsticks tucked away inside are also very pretty, painstakingly carved from purpleheart , walnut and maple.  There seems to be another compartment, secretly hidden away inside, but it’s so tricky to access.  A few parts of the matchbox move and slide, sometimes, and sometimes they don’t …. I wish I knew what was going on here, it’s all very tricky and I just need a match.

Exquisite detail and a baffling secret

The Stickman Matchbox (No.29) is a really lovely creation by Robert Yarger, the puzzle box artisan and master woodworker from Edmond, Oklahoma.  The interplay between the sliding components in the box has an irregular and odd logic and determining the proper sequence of moves is anything but easy.  To create this logic Robert needed an irregularly shaped internal component which would have been difficult, fragile and expensive or impossible to manufacture from wood.  For the first time in one of his designs he used a 3D printed plastic part for this instead, which hides inside and is never seen.  At one time he felt that 3D printing for complex internal parts might open up a world of new possibilities and allow the incredible ideas in his mind to become reality. The matchbox would be just the spark of flame which would get it all ignited.  This may be an idea ahead of its time right now, but time will tell, as it always does.

Tinder Box by Chris Frankel

The fire is getting started thanks to the wood … perhaps we should add a little whiskey now to stoke the flames higher.  A well matched cocktail conflagration is this classically styled whiskey stunner from Houston’s Chris Frankel, who created it for Spare Key, his bartender’s choice little gem which showcased his creative talents during its brief but brilliant lifespan in midtown.  Named for a private joke about the social media dating app, his “Tinder Box” proved immensely popular at his bar.  Combining bourbon, Bual Madeira, Pimm’s #1, maraschino liqueur and orange biters, the Tinder Box is a seriously savory sipper which might just light your fire. Here’s to fanning the flames of inspiration.  Cheers!

Go on, swipe right ...

Tinder Box by Chris Frankel
1 ½  oz bourbon
¼ oz maraschino liqueur
¾ oz Bual Madeira
½ oz Pimm’s #1
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a favorite glass.  Garnish with a lemon peel and get the fire started.

A match made in Houston

Fire and love different as night is to day
But none the less….
Both consume and may warm a being
Or leave one with nothing but ashes   
 -  Patricia Gale

For more information about Robert Yarger:

For prior puzzles by Robert Yarger:

For other cocktails by Chris Frankel see:
Key Secrets (with a tribute to Randal Gatewood)


  1. Absolutely adore this one Steve - I heart real matches - something about that smell! While I can't say things are heating up just yet here in Minnesota, we're definitely on board with the fires! Flame on friend - Cheers!

    1. Thanks guys! Nothing like a toasty fire on a cold winters day ... unless you're in Houston!

  2. Mrs S was very interested when I got this! She had rather unhealthy urges to set fire to my gorgeous wood collection! Aaargh!


  3. It should be safe to let her try that with these matches ... but you never know, she sounds pretty resourceful Kevin.