Allegheny Cocktail


Many sources reachingly attribute the ALLEGHENY cocktail to the brave-hearted pioneer slog over the great Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. Along the way these pioneers picked blackberries and lemons and then added them to the glorious bourbon they distilled after they settled. Or something like that. By the way, my father loves to ridicule people from California who go to great pains to cultivate blackberries in their yards when this crop is basically a weed in the Pacific Northwest. But that is another story.

Brian and I are most skeptical of the blackberry liqueur the Allegheny calls for, so that is what we have to try first.

Eric: Let’s taste this crème de mure I drove 100 miles to get. It better be better than DeKuyper. Or that other guy, Hyman Walker.
Brian: That’s Hiram Walker. Hiram.
Eric: Whatever.
Brian: It’s kind of reddish. It comes on a little tart at first, and then it’s just blackberry. I don’t taste any booze.
Eric: Wow, I don’t hate that. We should pour this on our pancakes.

1 oz. bourbon (Buffalo Trace)
1 oz. dry vermouth (Dolin)
1 dash bitters (Angostura)
¼ oz. blackberry flavored brandy (Vedrenne crème de mure)
2 tsp. lemon juice

Stir and pour. Add lemon slice or twist to suit. 

Brian: This is another summery thing. It needs to be hot out.
Eric: That’s a good go-to review. “Personally, I think this cocktail works best on an early autumn afternoon.”
Brian: Well, would you want this on a cold rainy day? No you wouldn’t—
Eric: I think it has a nice balance. It’s not overpoweringly limey.
Brian: Lemony.
Eric: That’s what I said. You can still taste the vermouth. The blackberry is a little hidden but it’s doing something. And you can still taste the whiskey. It’s kind of tart. It’s not cloyingly sweet. I’m going to talk myself into a good score here!
Brian: Do you believe that our take on these drinks has changed because we’ve been on such a long hiatus?

Eric reads from the Cocktails in Charleston blog, which used Leroux “Jezynowka” blackberry brandy, “made specially to the Polish taste.”

Eric: “In my opinion the downside to drinking the Allegheny cocktail lies in that taste.” That’s the quote of the year, by the way.
Brian: I’m not getting any cough syrup notes like he did. Maybe ours isn’t to the Polish taste.
Eric: Would you make any modifications? I feel like I want just a titch more blackberry since I drove all the way to Costa Mesa to get it.
Brian: Eric is putting his fingers close together as if to say “tiny.”
Eric: (drinks) No that’s worse. It’s a fine line isn’t it?
Brian: Not many people are going to have the blackberry brandy to make this drink.
Eric: They’re going to have to come over to my house.
Brian: “I had an inkling for one of those Alleghenys but then I’m going to go.”

SCORES: Eric 6.5, Brian 6.5

Eric D. Anderson


Eric D. Anderson came to appreciate cocktails late in life and is trying to make up for lost time. He finds that crafting drinks involves the same precision, creativity, sociability, and ritual as baking—another passion—and believes that it brings people together in the same way. Eric is the director of Way of the Puck, a feature-length documentary about professional air hockey, and the editor of Stories of Quitting (, an online collection of true stories that celebrate giving up. His writing has appeared in AGNI, Painted Bride Quarterly, Perigee, Giant Robot, and Wild Quarterly, among other publications. In his free time he works as a camera operator on commercials and motion pictures.

Always drink responsibly!