This is not a typical box and booze review. I should actually say that this is knot. First of all, I’m going to take us back in history to the ancient Greeks and the time of Alexander the Great. Second of all, I’m going to cut through all that nonsense with a mighty stroke of the pen. Just go with it, it will all make sense in a moment.

The legend of the Gordian Knot dates back to ancient Macedonia, when a prophecy telling of a man driving an oxcart into the capital city of Phrygia came true and Gordia became king. His son, Midas (a touchy fellow), offered the famed oxcart to the god Zeus in gratitude and secured it in the town square with an intricate, complicated knot which could never be untied. The rope was made from Cornel bark of the Cornelian cherry tree, a flowering species of dogwood which produces little red fruits. In 333 B.C., Alexander of Macedonia, the great conqueror of ancient Greece, entered the city of Gordium and learned of the prophesy that whoever could unravel the knot was destined to rule all of Asia. Truth be told, he could not untie it, but he had better idea. The “Alexandrian Solution” ensued, whereby he cleaved the great knot in two with a swift stroke of his sword.


I have created a special drink which hearkens back to these ancient days, to toast an amazing puzzle box called the “Gordian Knot”. The cornelian cherry tree, whose bark was used to make the original Gordian Knot, produces little red berries as mentioned. The flavor of this fruit has been described as a cross between cranberry and sour cherry. Of course, there is a long history of using this fruit in the making of various regional liqueurs and spirits in parts of the Middle East and Europe. For example, “kornelkirsch” is found in the Austrian and German Alps. Since it’s not readily available in the US, I created my own cornel berry kirsch by infusing cranberry liqueur with sour amarena cherries. Mmmmmm. Not content with just the delicious liqueur, I created a variation of a classic cocktail called “The Last Word”. The history of this pre-prohibition era drink places it as early as 1916, where it was featured for 35 cents as the most expensive cocktail on the menu at the Detroit Athletic Club. The Last Word is a perfectly balanced cocktail using equal portions of gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice. There are literally hundreds of variations using this basic template, although not all are as perfect. I love the combination of smoky mezcal with cherries, so in my version, “The Alexandrian Solution”, mezcal meets cornel kirsch and the rest is history. Cheers!


The Alexandrian Solution

¾ oz mezcal

¾ oz sour cherry infused cranberry liqueur

¾ oz green Chartreuse

¾ oz fresh lime juice

Shake together over ice and strain into a favorite glass. Commence dispensing with complex problems brilliantly.

For more about one of the most amazing puzzle boxes ever created see:

Boxes and Booze: Why Knot