Saturday, July 21, 2018

Four Goodness Sake

A few weeks ago I featured a new puzzle box design from a brilliant craftsman who lives “downunder” by way of Japan – Juno Yananose.  I started the piece out with a little color commentary on my style of writing in general, which is essentially always complimentary.  I realized too late that the obvious conclusion would be that I didn’t really think Juno’s puzzle was superior but I’m just nice anyway.  A good friend pointed out to me that it sounded that way.  The reality is that I was simply responding to a conversation I had recently, just prior to writing that particular piece, about how many collectors heap unnecessary praise on creations which may not really be so amazing.  Keep in mind this was the perspective from a few of the craftspeople in the conversation, who I insisted were being too modest about their amazing work.  My perspective is one of admiration, and that is what I was trying to get across in that past post.  It had nothing to do with the actual puzzle I was featuring that week, Juno’s Ixia Box, which I honestly think is an amazing and clever design. 
Juno, here’s more praise in your direction, with no ambiguous language.  

Quartet Box by Juno Yananose

The follow up puzzle to the Ixia Flower Box also utilizes the cutoffs from other productions that Juno hated to waste.  He created little flowers on the Ixia box with them, and he created outright gears for the Quartet Box.  The four gears, crafted from eight species of exotic wood, align perfectly on top of the box and turn all together as might be expected. But that will be the only aspect of this puzzle which will behave as expected.  The remaining box, made from Burmese Teak, Jarrah, and Koto, will slowly start to move in the most unexpected and delightful ways.  There’s really no other box quite like it, and it took years from inception to execution according to Juno, due to the need for a precision CNC router to ensure it would have the proper motion.  Like his other boxes, Juno has added a few layers to this one, and there is even a sequential discovery element required for the finale, which is again, brilliant and satisfying.  Quartet Box is arguably Juno’s best and most beautiful so far, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

This quartet of finely wrought gears will have your head spinning

The Australian gears were spinning when I paired a potion to toast the Quartet Box.  I immediately thought of the classic four equal parts cocktail, the Last Word.  It’s a cocktail that begs to be played with and modified – there are literally hundreds of variations out there.  The original dates back to 1920’s at the Detroit Athletic Club, where a local bartender created and named it after a popular vaudeville comedian famous for his long show ending monologues.  It was resurrected in 2005 when Seattle based bartender Murray Stenson put it on the menu, and it became an instant hit, all over again.  I’ve created many variations on these pages in the past, and here’s one more, and it won’t be the last … word. 

The Pavlova cocktail

The original calls for equal parts of gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse and Maraschino liqueur.  It’s a sophisticated sipper and worth a try if you have not.  For this Aussie variation I’ve taken a few of the flavors from the famous Australian dessert, the Pavlova, and mixed them into the glass.  The Pavlova also has its roots back in the 1920’s, when it was created in honor of the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, during her tour of Australia and New Zealand.  The dessert is a light and delicious meringue cake topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit such as passionfruit, kiwi and berries.  For the cocktail, I’ve exchanged the cherry liqueur for a passionfruit syrup, switched lime for lemon juice, switched to yellow Chartreuse, and finally added some egg white for the meringue.  Shake one up if you’re down – under – or if you’re anywhere, actually, and want something delicious to drink.  It’s the last word in Aussie cocktails.  Cheers!

It looks good enough to eat!

The Pavlova

¾ oz gin
¾ oz lemon
¾ oz yellow Charteuse
¾ oz passionfruit syrup
½ oz egg white

Shake together without ice to froth then briefly with ice to chill.  Double strain into a favorite glass and garnish with fresh fruit.  Or Vegemite, I suppose.

A pair of Australian imports

For more about Juno Yananose:

For prior Last Word variations:
To the Lighthouse - Part II
What's Knot to Love?

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