Saturday, August 22, 2020

Key Note Address

Do you like a box that locks?
Do you like a lock like box?
Yes, I like a box that locks
Yes, I like a lock like box
Yes, I like a lock like box that looks like lock of box that locks
Would you like it wearing socks?
Would you like it wearing shoes?
Would it be the one you choose?
Yes I’d like it wearing socks, yes I’d like it wearing shoes
Yes it would be one I’d choose
Would you like it with some booze?
Yes I like this lock like box with lots of locks that block the box
Yes it would be one I’d choose
Yes I’d like it with some booze
Yes I like this box and booze

Lock Box by Eric Fuller

I’m paying homage to Dr. Seuss this week with the wonderful Lock Box from Eric Fuller.  Eric is well known for his beautifully crafted and highly curated selection of fine wood puzzles which he makes at his workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has a gift for designing devious puzzle boxes as well, and his secret opening creations are among the most sought after of his work. He seems to be on a creative high lately, with many new box designs coming to exist over the past year. His newest piece, the Lock Box, may be one of his best yet.

Just turn the key ... right? er ... left?

There have been many famous puzzle locks. There have been puzzle boxes with real or “puzzle” locks on them as well. There have been wooden puzzle locks, some associated with boxes, too. But this may be the first true puzzle box that is also a puzzle lock. Make no mistake – Lock Box is a puzzle box, as the name should imply. It behaves like a puzzle box should behave. Things move in ways that should be familiar, and opening a secret compartment is the ultimate goal. But the box has a keyhole, and a key. Like many great puzzle locks, it’s a special key, full of special abilities. Like most great puzzle locks, inserting the key in the keyhole does not get you very far. Unlike most puzzle locks, the goal is not to open the lock’s shackle. And unlike most puzzle boxes with a key, the key is essential to making the puzzle behave like, well, like a puzzle box.

Lots of locks that block this box

Eric has put all of his best tricks into this one, starting with the gorgeous sapele wood he chose. On either the quatersawn or waterfall versions, the wood grain shimmers like magic. The boxes are beautiful. Eric is also known for his misdirection and tricks, and he pulls no punches here. The box has been purposefully (and brilliantly) designed to take the solver on a journey of discovery meant to get you only so far, and requiring a fantastically satisfying leap of understanding to make it further. There is a phenomenally engineered aha moment which will unlock your appreciation of the box even more. The mechanics are marvelous and mind boggling, yet allow a solution to be discovered through careful observation and logic. And there is a final reward worthy of such a journey, in the form of a cool ancient coin replica Eric has sourced just for fun, waiting in the secret chamber. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lock Box wins an award, if such things exist again someday. It certainly has my vote.

Low Key by Colin Carroll and Alex Gesler

Here’s a delicious low key highball to celebrate the Lock Box with that’s perfect for summer sipping. Highballs are popular anytime of year but particularly during the heat – gin and tonic, anyone? Highballs are typically a simple affair of base spirit plus fizzy water, such as the classic G&T or the even more classic whiskey and soda. And of course bartenders have debated fiercely about the perfect ratio and brands of those two ingredients for ages. If you tinker even more and add additional ingredients or a sweetener, a highball can become incredibly nuanced and complex, yet all the while maintain that laid back, low key vibe.

Highfalutin Highball

At Portland, Oregon’s 5 & Dime, Colin Carroll and Alex Gesler came up with a delicious lemon herb syrup that turns an ordinary highball into an elevated drink that still appeals to all. The drink is typical of their ethos to serve perfectly executed, well thought out cocktail in a casual neighborhood style bar that’s inviting to everyone. Here’s to meticulously crafted creations of all kinds. Cheers!

This pair is key to a good time

Low Key by Colin Carroll and Alex Gesler

2 oz bonded bourbon
1 ¼ oz lemon syrup
Soda water

Add bourbon and syrup to an ice filled glass, stir, and top with soda water.

For the lemon syrup:
2 cups lemon juice
2 cups honey
3 sprigs tarragon
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs sage
3 sprigs rosemary
2 cups pea flowers

Heat lemon juice and honey to incorporate, then steep with the herbs in a sachet until cool (about 1 hour). Strain and bottle.

For more from Eric Fuller:
Panic Attack
Small Talk
Wrapped with a Beau
Third Times a Charm

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