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The start of a new year is always cause for reflection. Here at Boxes and Booze I’m thinking about this dual hobby of mine, which I have oddly enough managed to combine. I’ve made many friends from both sides of this coin and for that I’m truly amazed and thankful. It’s become a reliable outlet for me to explore my creative side. I’m so glad there are a few folks out there who enjoy seeing what I’m up to.

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To ring in the New Year I’ve paired a special commemorative puzzle box with A Few of My Favorite Things, which combines favored elements in a drink just like the box does. The aptly named drink features the special Italian aperitif known as Barolo Chinato which comes from the Piedmont region in north western Italy. Barolo is a prized wine made from the Nebbiolo grape, with a following and provenance which needs no alternate use. Yet generations of distillers have used it as a base in which to steep cinchona bark, spices, sugar and herbs to produce unique and delicious vintages of something incredibly special. It’s like applying the addition of complex puzzles to an incredibly skilled and beautiful piece of woodwork which could easily stand on its own to create something richer and more layered. Mixologist Paul Manzelli, formerly of Bergamot in Massachusetts, combined a few of his favorite things into this cocktail, which includes Barolo Chinato along with rye whiskey and the Italian Amari Aperol and Cynar. The chinato brings wonderful balance to this combination of the lightly bitter grapefruit Aperol and the surprisingly sweet artichoke Cynar. Manzelli clearly loves Italian aperitifs and digestifs. And who can blame him. This cocktail might become one of your favorite things too.

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Here’s a toast to woodwork and whiskey and warm winter laughter, puzzles and potions and cred to the crafter, boxes and booze and what family brings, these are a few of my favorite things. Cheers and Happy New Year!

My Favorite Things by Paul Manzelli

1 ½ oz rye whiskey

½ oz Aperol

½ oz Cynar

½ oz Barolo Chinato

1 dash orange bitters

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a favorite glass. Garnish with an orange twist or a Stickman logo.

To read more about the unique commemorative Stickman Yosegi Puzzle Box No. 1 see:

Boxes and Booze: Favorite Things

For prior New Year’s themed cocktails see:

Time Passages

Soba New Year