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A friend of mine refers to my blog posts as “offerings” which I give to the world once a week. It has a nice ring to it. He recently made an incredibly complex new puzzle box and I “offered’ a virtual tour of it on the blog. Coming up with a cocktail to pair it with was a challenge, until I stumbled onto “The Offering”, a drink by Alex Wiegand from Cambridge Massachusetts. So here’s an offering to pair with this offering. Or perhaps I should say to “pear” with this offering. The cocktail employs a pear shrub to impart a delicious sweet and tart flavor to the drink. Shrubs are old fashioned fruit and vinegar based drinks which originated in England (by way of Persia) and were used long ago as health tonics. They are sometimes known as “drinking vinegars” and have made a come back in recent times as both stand alone beverages and as cocktail ingredients. Homemade shrubs are delicious – this one calls for freshly chopped pear, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and sherry vinegar. I’ve taken the essential ingredients and made a quick workaround by using the incredibly delicious St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur and adding pear infused balsamic vinegar, with quite satisfactory results.

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Another interesting component to this offering is Cardamaro, another fascinating Italian amaro. Like all amaros it is an infused regional wine, with herbal and bitter components, traditionally used as a digestive aid after a delicious meal. You’d be forgiven for thinking it must be infused with cardamom, which is what we all think initially. The key ingredients here are actually cardoon, and blessed thistle, both from the artichoke family. Cardamaro is rich and sweet, with only very subtle hints of herb and hardly any bitterness. It’s a wonderful amaro to try. Lastly I’ve added a few dashes of something uniquely suited to this drink pairing, some Stickman Sapele Bitters. These are really a tincture made from actual Sapele wood, the very same wood used to make the puzzle box with which the drink is paired. If you have access to any slivers of Sapele wood, a similar effect can be produced by simply adding a sliver, perhaps in the form of a stirring stick, to the glass. The flavors will seep into it due to the alcohol, imparting a mellow sweetness and aging to the drink. I’ll leave you with a final word about amaros, created from dozens of local ingredients including plants, roots, bark and flowers indigenous to whatever region the amaro is from. There is a masterful creativity in determining what to combine, in what way, and where to add it in the process, to create something incredible. It’s a perfect element to compliment this particular offering – check out the link to the puzzle blog post to understand why. Cheers!

The Offering by Alex Weigand

1 ½ oz reposado tequila

1 oz Cardamaro

¾ oz pear shrub

½ oz fresh lemon

(2 dashes Sapele bitters or stirring stick)

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with citrus contruct.

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For the full scoop on the amazing “Dwemer Construct” box see:

Boxes and Booze: Construction Zone