Saturday, February 10, 2018


I’ve got a broken heart this year for Valentine’s Day.  Don’t feel too bad for me, though - I’m only talking about a puzzle box.  Last year for your amorous amusement I featured what might have been the perfect pairing of love potion and puzzle, the Valentine’s Day Box by Tatsuo Miyamoto and the Heart Shaped Box by Brad Farran.  It really can’t get any more perfect than that.  I even created one of my most adorable citrus peel garnish creations ever, a lemon orange and lime cupid perched on a strawberry.  I was trying to make up for being so cynical the year before that, when I explored the gruesome origins of Valentine’s Day and even deconstructed things down to a mathematical formula.  Sigh, those were good times.  Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.

Secret Heart by Tatsuo Miyamoto

But here I am, with a broken box.  Okay fine, it’s just in two pieces.  It’s not really broken.  I was just setting things up cleverly.  We have Karakuri Creation Group artist Tatsuo Miyamoto to thank once again for this nostalgic trip down memory lane on Valentine’s Day.  He’s a rather romantic fellow, and has created a number of heart-themed boxes.  Love should be simple, and obvious.  You should know it when you see it, or feel it.  The two halves of this heart come together naturally, as easy as falling in love.  Inside one half is a music box, which plays a wistful tune when properly activated.  Perhaps you can hear it, somehow?  Now I need a place to hide away … and the other half provides that nicely.  You’ll have this box opening its heart to you in no time.

I'm not half the man I used to be ...

I’m a creature of habit, so the pairing for this secret heart once again comes from the wonderful Death and Company Modern Classics book.  Death and company was the term applied to those desperate souls who drank during the dark days of prohibition, and was adopted as the name of one of the more influential bars in New York City.  Also invented by Brad Farran, the creator of the Heart Shaped Box cocktail, this year’s tasty tipple features tequila, which is sure to make your heart beat faster.  The drink is based on the classic Manhattan, which combines rye and sweet vermouth, but swaps the rye for a finely aged tequila instead.  Farran then gives the drink a little tickle, with the addition of a his “Tickle Juice”, a combination of crème de cacao chocolate liqueur and Cynar, the deliciously herbal Italian amaro, which finds its way into a number of Death & Co. creations.  Be careful, this is another potent love potion that might make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Te Amo by Brad Farran

Te Amo by Brad Farran

2 oz anejo tequila (e.g. El Tesoro)
¾ oz sweet vermouth (e.g Cocchi Di Torino)
2 tsps crème de cacao (e.g. Marie Brizard white)
1 tsp Cynar
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
1 dash Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub

Stir ingredients together with ice and strain into a favorite glass.  Garnish with an orange peel or something heart-felt.

A lovely pair

For more about Tatsuo Miyamoto:

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