Pop Quiz: Which of the following are not cocktails we are making today?
- All-White Frappe
- Partially White Frappe
- Flat White Frappucino
- The New Zealand All-Blacks
- Woody Allen
- Ethan Allen
- GG Allin
- The Alan Parsons Project
- Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold
Answer: Well, if you read the title to this post, you already know we are making the All-White Frappe and the Allen. If you’re the kind of person who just dives into the Internet before resurfacing and getting the hell out of there, the answer is 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.
Last week we slogged through the Allegheny (kind of a blackberry, bourbon, dry vermouth, and lemon thing) and the Alice Cocktail (kummel, sweet vermouth and a Pointless Quantity of Invisible Scotch). Neither of them received a passing grade, although the Allegheny came close with a 6.5 and will probably be made again just to have a reason to get rid of my blackberry liqueur (after pouring it all over my pancakes).
First up today is the desserty ALL-WHITE FRAPPE, which seems like it would dominate with fans of chocolate chip mint, who, of course, are legion. There’s also a full ounce of lemon juice and the opportunity to rediscover one of our homemade anisettes, of which we made two (many months ago). For those who are playing along, we made an anisette using vodka as a base and then one using brandy, the latter initially being deemed to be superior. Now, however, the tables have turned and brandy-based anisette is undrinkable. So there.
We are also using some of our supersweet non-white DIY crème de menthe and an extremely dark and robust crème de cacao from Tempus Fugit that obliterates everything it comes into contact with. With these red flags held tightly in hand, we embark on this quest toward greater understanding of that most enigmatic of cocktails, the All-White Frappe. And is that frappe as in FRAP-PE or frappe as in FRAP?
1 oz. anisette (DIY vodka anisette)
1 oz. white crème de cacao (Tempus Fugit)
½ oz. white crème de menthe (DIY crème de menthe)
1 oz. lemon juice
Combine with ice; shake well. Strain over crushed ice.
Initially, the All-White Frappe reminds Brian of a lemony version of this:
Eric: How badly do you dislike this?
Brian: Let me be clear: I’m not docking this points for look or style or anything. I just don’t like the way it tastes. I’m going to give it a 3.
Eric: Well, we have two homemade ingredients [anisette and crème de menthe] and another substitution [Tempus Fugit dark crème de cacao]. The only thing that’s actually correct is…
Brian: The lemon.
Eric: The lemon is right on the money.
Brian: I can get a tinge of the anisette but not really. This just smells of cacao.
Eric: It looks pretty. I like the crushed ice. It kind of reminds me of the Absinthe Suissesse I had in New Orleans.
Brian: You gave the Absinthe Suissesse a 0+.
Eric: Yeah, but when I had it in New Orleans it was a 7. Or an 8. That has to win the award for Most Improved so far on the Rituals. We hated it when we did it, but there it’s a breakfast drink, and they mound up the ice and pour absinthe and cream over it. It was amazing, actually. And that had anisette in it too. Anyway, this is bad, but I wonder if we just did it wrong.
Brian: Two homemade ingredients and one substitution.
Eric: Three out of four ingredients are wrong. It seems unfair to punish it with a poor review. Is it worse than the AJ?
Brian: Sometimes things get better with a little dilution. (drinks) But not this time.
SCORES: Eric 4, Brian 3.
At long, long last, it is time for the Allen. Who could he be, this Mr. Allen? Or Mrs. Allen? Or perhaps Allen is a first name, as in Allen Iverson. Maybe this drink should just be called The Answer? How did your life measure up in the end, Allen? Was it everything you hoped it would be? Why did you love your maraschino bitters so much??
The more I think about this cocktail the more irritated I get. This cocktail gets an F for effort, at least in the naming department. It really shows a lack of initiative. Why be so lackluster? Come on, you can name it anything! Call it a Medulla Oblongata! Or a Johnny Come Lately! Or a Marlon Brando! Nope. “Hey, there’s this guy, Allen, who comes down to the bar who orders this thing with gin and maraschino liqueur.” “Allen, I like the sound of that!” “I don’t know. I have these other two drinks I’m working on: the Paul, and then there’s the Brian.” “No way, stick with the Allen, that one’s a keeper!”
1.5 oz. gin (Bombay Sapphire)
.75 oz. maraschino bitters (Luxardo)
A few drops lemon juice
Combine with ice, shake well. Strain and add ice.
Eric: The Allen here looks superboozy. Or should I say “Allen here looks superboozy”?
Brian: He certainly does.
Eric: If I saw my uncle drinking this, it’d be like, “Whoa.”
Brian: I think the giant ice cube is a little scary.
Eric: Yeah, the amount of liquid that’s being displaced is intimidating. It makes it look like a huge drink. Is this the right vessel?
Eric: (drinks) This is gin and maraschino liquor. This is not a cocktail.
Brian: Who’s to say?
Eric: Me, that’s who. Me. Who do you trust? Me.
Brian: I kind of want a little more lemon juice, maybe, but then you are just getting closer and closer to an Aviation. You are getting away from this cocktail’s essential Allen-ness.
Eric: I think when we have our Aviation, a little bit later, this is gonna get stomped on. The Allen is like the kid who has an older brother who’s a jock in school and popular, and this poor guy comes up in his shadow. People have that same expectation of the younger brother and it’s just never met.
Brian: I could sip on this watching TV.
Eric: Wow. (drinks) It’s getting worse. But we shouldn’t penalize it for dilution.
Brian: No we should not.
SCORES: Brian 5, Eric 5
The Allen could be good in the stealth department as it is absolutely clear, like water. Just don’t put an enormous ice cube in it like we did—that gives the game away. Still, this is the kind of thing that I might have found on a kitchen counter as a kid in the 1970s and mistakenly thought it was a glass of water—only to discover that Aunt Shirley was drinking rocket fuel! The crystal clarity of the Allen deserves special mention for this reason.
Otherwise, there are hundreds of beverages I’d have before I made this one again. It’s gin and maraschino liqueur, people. Lack of initiative, right? This is what I’ve been saying about Allen all along; he was never a self-starter.
Brian repeats that he’d sip this one watching television—what is it with that? On the other hand, we have said that that every drink has its time and its place where it is meant to be consumed. Perhaps the Allen is best experienced while watching a Jeopardy rerun at 10 A.M. in a hot apartment—when one should be out looking for a new job instead.
That sounds delicious, actually.