The end of Prohibition in 1933 was a highly celebrated reversal of fortune for many in the United States. Here we have another, the Reversal of Fortune puzzle box by American woodworker Jeffrey Aurand. For the Reversal of Fortune I’m toasting my good fortune with more good fortune - in fact, with “Royal Fortune”. This bold and funky riff on the Manhattan from Atlanta bartender Josh Washburn evokes the West Indian spice trade and leaves Manhattan far behind. One might even imagine all the exotic flavors and spices being shipped across the ocean inside an apothecary like chest full of drawers. In the original recipe, Washburn uses Denizen Merchant, a special French and Jamaican rum blend created by master distiller Nick Pelis to recreate the original rum that Trader Vic Bergeron used in his classic Mai Tai. I’ve used Hamilton’s Demerera rum which is not at all the same but still worked well. I also swapped Ramazotti amaro for Ciociaro, a common and acceptable substitute. The drink is rich, layered, complex and rewarding – a suitable, royal compliment to this fine puzzle box.

Here’s to reversing all our misfortunes. Cheers!


Royal Fortune by Josh Washburn

  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 oz Galliano
  • 1/2 oz Amaro Ciociaro
  • 1/2 oz Denizen Merchant
  • 1/2 oz Neisson rhum agricole
  • 1 oz Verdelho Madeira
  • Laphroaig 10 rinse

Shake ingredients together with ice and strain into the Laphroaig rinsed glass. Garnish with a fortune cookie lime wedge.


For more about the Reversal of Fortune puzzle box and the Apothecary Chest project see:

Boxes and Booze: Paramount Fortunes