I’m on vacation so this week’s offering will be small and sweet (I know, the expression is typically “short” and sweet, but in this case “small” works so much better). I’m revisiting a few of my favorite places along the California coast on this bon voyage, so it seems the perfect opportunity to revisit a few favorite box and booze destinations as well along the way.
|Bon Bons by Perry McDaniel|
Here’s a small and sweet puzzle box treat to tempt the taste buds. What the heck, here’s a whole bunch of treats. Perry McDaniel, the premier purveyor of puzzling pastries, is one of the most precise craftsman I know who can create incredibly complex mechanism in the tiniest pieces of wood. He has outdone himself with his Bon Bon series, scaling things down to a diminutive box which resembles a bite sized bon bon.
|They look good enough to eat|
He created four of these in total for his pop up pastry shop, which appears mysteriously in various parts of the world. The set includes three bon bon sized puzzle boxes made from different woods and adorned with a single thin stripe of frosting on top, and a decorative bon bon with a bite taken out of it, which reveals scrumptious layers of colorful wood inside. This decorative bon bon is certainly the hardest one to open, since it doesn’t, but the others might as well be glued shut as well since they are incredibly tricky. It’s hard to believe how intricate and complex Perry has made these tiny treasures, and it’s a joy to experience them.
|Baker's Dozen by Mike Di Tota|
I know there are only four of these delectable desserts in the Bon Bon series, but I wish there were a dozen. With that in mind I’ve paired them with another incredible “unlocked” cocktail from one of the most innovative zero-proof mixologists around, Mike Di Tota from New York, who’s cocktail “Billow’s and Thieves” I also featured on these pages. He is the General Manager and Bar Director at The Bonnie in Astoria, Queens, where he created a number of sophisticated zero-proof cocktails. He holds a degree in botany from the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, and uses his understanding of roots, bark, seeds, stems, herbs and flowers in his delicious drinks.
|Jam packed with flavors|
In his “Baker’s Dozen”, he combines two of my favorite cocktail ingredients, lime juice and tonic syrup, with a decadently delicious blackberry and fig syrup, to create one of the most delicious drinks I’ve tasted in quite a while. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a bon voyage like this soon – small, sweet, and serene. Cheers!
|A pair of unusual baked goods|
Baker’s Dozen – Mike Di Tota
1 oz blackberry-fig syrup
½ Tonic Syrup
¾ oz fresh lime
Combine ingredients in a favorite glass and fill with ice. Top with soda water and stir. The original adds a sprinkle of dried Lebanese-style aphrodisiac tea leaves and buds, for garnish.
∙ 1 quart turbinado sugar simple syrup
∙ 13 ounces fig preserves (Di Tota uses Bonne Maman brand)
∙ 13 ounces blackberry preserves (Di Tota uses Bonne Maman brand)
∙ 1 cinnamon stick, crushed
∙ 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
∙ 5 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
For more about Perry McDaniel: