Unlocking the key to creativity is one of the many objectives for this little venture of mine. To keep things interesting (for the readers as well as myself) I’ve occasionally diverged from the boxes and booze path to dabble in things which are not exactly a box, such as many of Brian Young’s wonderful sequential discovery puzzles (they always have space inside for something, so, a box!), and things which are not at all a box, such as the incredible trick locks from ShaneHales. Last week’s April Fool’s Day offering was my first foray into things which are not exactly a booze, and it was about time, too. Statistics (I know, I know) suggest that up to one third of the American population (my little corner of the world) doesn’t drink alcohol at all, and any good bartender knows there will be someone who wants an interesting drink but isn’t “drinking”. I’ve decided to do a whole series on the theme I unlocked last week, with the “Unlocked Negroni”, and revisit my favorite alter ego, “Locks and Libations”.
|Haleslock 4 by Shane Hales|
Speaking of Shane Hales, let’s kick off this first in the series of unlocked cocktails with one of his fine locks (and I’m not talking about the hair on his head). I’ve extolled Shane’s virtues as a brilliant carpenter and locksmith before, but he has some newly acquired credentials as well now. He recently joined the ranks of the prestigious U.K. Master Locksmith Association, and has started his own locksmithing business. Add to that his penchant for puzzles and there’s no wonder he’s up to number four in his own puzzle lock series.
|Hmmm, a rather unusual keyhole ...|
The Haleslock 4 was created to be Allard Walker’s exchange puzzle for IPP 37 and along with Haleslock 3 was produced in greater quantities to meet those demands. The lock is a standard issue modified padlock which features an unusual key reminiscent of a Phillips head screwdriver, known as a “cruciform” key. This key design has always fascinated Shane (he tells me) and although he feels that this lock is not perfect, it captivated both his and Allard’s imagination. Shane’s instructions are quite clear, you are to use everything provided (well, it seems to be a lock and a key) and open the lock. If you actually follow those instructions, however, which may not be so obvious, there is an elegant solution hidden cleverly inside this puzzle lock. In case it needs saying, inserting the key into the lock does not work! Shane has unlocked another fine puzzle, and we can’t wait to see what the master locksmith will come up with next.
|Tea Time by Bryan Dayton|
For the unlocked cocktail pairing I’ve selected something which should appeal to Shane’s British heritage, a tea based cocktail. This would be perfect for high tea or happy hour – perhaps one could blend easily into the next with no need to get up and move on. And I’ve unlocked the secret to no hangovers – no alcohol! Colorado based mixologist Bryan Dayton created this perfect potion for his Boulder bar and restaurant, OAK at Fourteenth. Using green tea as the base, it adds lavender syrup, lemon juice and ginger beer (which is of course really just ginger soda, no fermentation in this beer), along with a few dashes of grapefruit bitters to round it all out.
|This is the key to a refreshing "cocktail"|
Now if you want to be a purist, or in this case a “tea” totaler, you might point out that bitters are actually alcoholic. It’s true, cocktail bitters are complex mixtures of herbs, spices and bark which utilize alcohol to extract the flavors. In fact they have a high alcohol content, usually over 40% which is compatible with most basic spirits. But they are only intended to be consumed as a few drops, and must be so bitter as to be considered “non-potable”. This is why no liquor license is required to sell them. A few drops in your drink will impart flavor but no significant alcohol, in the same way as adding pure vanilla extract to your baking goods (which also carries a hefty alcohol content, at around 35%). So you can enjoy as many of these light and refreshing tea cocktails as you like, and have some cookies while you’re at it, too. Here’s to unlocked locks and libations, a puzzles and potions proxy. Cheers!
|Locks and Libations|
Tea Time by Bryan Dayton
2 oz green tea
1 oz lavender syrup
2 oz ginger beer
½ oz lemon
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
Shake together with ice and strain into a favorite glass, or better yet, a tea cup! Garnish with grapefruit peel or the key to a great puzzle.
For more about Shane Hales: