Saturday, August 26, 2017

Pooh Corner

The Japanese zodiac is divided into a twelve year cycle, with repeating blocks of years represented by a different animal.  It is said that you pick up a few characteristics from the animal year you were born during.  If you find yourself to be a bit stubborn, short-tempered, selfish, and mean, perhaps you were born in the year of the tiger.  On the other hand, tigers are also known to be sensitive, courageous, and thoughtful, with a great capacity for sympathy, especially to those they love.  So cheer up!

Sweet Tooth Tiger (Tiger of Carboholic) by Shiro Tajima

Perhaps this puzzle box, from Japanese artist Shiro Tajima, might help.  Tajima has crafted a series of the signs of the zodiac, and this one, the “Sweet Tooth Tiger”, was released for the Year of the Tiger in 2010.  Such a silly, sweet tiger reminds me more of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh than Shere Khan from the Jungle Book.  This tiger is all smiles, crafted from Japanese Raisin Tree and Walnut, with Dogwood and Rengas details.  I’d be smiling too if I had such a nice lollipop.  On the other hand, I don’t think this tiger will smile at all if you withhold his sweet treat, so you’d better take care not to lose it.  A clever, whimsical and fun box, the Tiger is another fine achievement from Tajima.

What do Tiggers like?

Sticking with the Winnie the Pooh theme, I’ve invited Eeyore to the party as well.  You may not realize, but Eeyore’s name is intended to be onomatopoeic.  When spoken with the appropriate English accent (presumably the kind favored by A. A. Milne, for example), the “r” is less “r” and more “aw”, such that “Eeyore” sounds quite like “hee-haw”, just the sound that an old gray donkey might be fond of making.  Of course all my English friends are probably reading dumbfounded at the idiocy of their American friend, having to explain something so obvious.  

Eeyore's Requiem by Toby Maloney

If Eeyore grew up and wanted an after dinner drink, I imagine he would drink amaro.  Amaro, you recall, is that class of bitter aperitif or digestive drink made from botanicals and herbs and favored by old Italian grandfathers and old gray donkeys alike.  Amari have become quite popular and are being produced all over the world now.  Author Brad Parsons has written an entire cocktail book devoted to them, and this particular cocktail suits our theme quite well.  In “Eeyore’s Requiem”, Chicago bartender Toby Maloney combines no fewer than three separate Amari in a negroni-esque tribute to our favorite droll and depressing character, and the result might just lift your spirits.  Here’s to the surprising sweetness in life hiding inside the unlikeliest of characters, like a puzzle waiting to be solved.  Cheers!

Help me if you can, I've got to get back to the House on Pooh Corner by one ...

Eeyore’s Requiem by Toby Maloney

1 ½ oz Campari
½ oz Gin
¼ oz Cynar
¼ oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
15 drops Orange bitters
3 Orange twists

Stir ingredients together with ice and strain into a favorite glass.  Garnish with Eeyore’s Tail, which you may find is serving as a bell pull over at Owl’s place.  Cheers!

For more about Shiro Tajima see:

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