Allen Cocktail - Ingredients


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?
Brian: Yes!
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.

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!