Det finns något förbryllande om den här rutan.
You just never know what you might find wandering around in Ikea. Take this rugged looking box, for example. It’s a sturdy and handsome affair, crafted with a beautiful oak frame. It has side panels which are covered in soft burlap, a rather unusual touch which gives it a uniquely distinctive appearance. It’s a fairly large box, and heavy. It’s impossible to tell from the outside that this is a puzzle box, containing all sorts of brass hardware inside, with multiple internal compartments, five distinct locking mechanism, and a sequential discovery tool which is required to ultimately access the final secret compartment. Until, that is, you pick it up and realize there is no obvious way to open it. Once the initial trick is discovered, it is immediately apparent that this is no ordinary box.
|Hemlis Box by Gustav Nilsson|
The “Hemlis Box” (a way of saying “secret” in Swedish) is the creation of Swedish carpenter and cabinet maker Gustav Nilsson. Nilsson is from northern Sweden and has picked up inspiration from his travels all over. He is currently studying at the prestigious Capellagarden School of Craft and Design in Oland, one of the best art schools in the country. They focus on old techniques using hand tools and traditional styles, but Nilsson has his own ideas, and brings a fresh perspective. For the Hemlis Box, he knew he wanted something tricky, with clean lines and no obvious top or bottom. The opening mechanism was well thought out, but he created the rest inside as he went with what he describes as a “messy mix of playing and testing”. He likes to use recycled parts in renewed ways, and says that as far as his inspiration is concerned, “The mind is a mysterious machine.” He reminds me of a few other clever puzzle makers I know. He jokes that he built this box for Frodo to carry the ring inside, and any fan of Tolkien is a friend of mine.
|There's no cow on the ice|
For this unusual box, which is a change of pace from the routine, I’ve done something equally unusual for the cocktail pairing. I’ve teamed up with some cocktail friends from Sweden to help me choose the appropriate toast for this Swedish box. Joakim and Mattias are the duo behind “Cocktail Detour”, a blog which chronicles their world travels and passion for mixology. They live in downtown Stockholm but have visited the best bars all around the world. For the Hemlis Box, they selected an unusual classic which features the quintessential Swedish spirit, aquavit. Aquavit, or more traditionally “aqvavit” (literally, “water of life” – sound familiar? This is the same derivation as aqua vitae (Latin), a type of fruit brandy, and even uisce beatha (Gaelic), the original term for whiskey), is the classic Scandinavian grain spirit distilled with herbs and classically featuring caraway and dill flavors. Think of it as Scandinavian gin if you are not familiar with it already.
|Time Bomb c. 1982|
They found the “Time Bomb” cocktail in the pages of the Vogue Cocktail Book, 1982. The book was compiled by Henry McNulty, a “man-about-town” who styled it after the 1930’s era cocktail heyday and jazz age. McNulty was an American born in China, educated in the Ivy League, who became a war correspondent during World War II, and later a drinks industry journalist best known for his role as the spirits editor at British Vogue in the seventies and eighties. The Time Bomb lives up to its name as a potent bomb of a dry martini variation which evokes that classic era. The cocktail is very dry and sophisticated, with a nice balance between the flavors. The aquavit is not overwhelming thanks to the split with vodka, and the lemon balances things well. It’s a perfect drink for sharing secrets. Cheers!
|Caught with your beard in the letterbox|
Time Bomb c. 1982 (from the Swedish recipe)
3 cl akvavit
3 cl vodka
3 cl citronjuice
1 bit citronskal
Blanda I ett stort cocktailglas. För den som tycker om riktigt torra drinkar.
|Suspect owls in the bog here ...|
For more from Cocktail Detour see:
N.B. I did not actually find this box in Ikea, in case you really thought so. Also, the odd photo captions are all common Swedish expressions - see if you can deduce their meanings.
Special thanks to Cocktail Detour for the collaboration.