Friday, May 15, 2009

More Allen's Talk

At the risk of getting too meta, Michele over at Strange Maine has a post on Allen's that sees my, uh, scholarship on Maine's best-selling drink and raises me a couple other sources, including this humorous nugget from an otherwise sober WaPo article:

At Raena's Pub in the northern city of Bangor,
bartender Carrie Smith said she can easily spot the brandy drinkers.
"Bleached-blonde, teased hair. . . They always play the 'Redneck Woman'
song" on the jukebox, she said, describing the typical drinker who orders a
"sombrero," or Allen's mixed with milk. Smith said she once saw a woman dump her
cocktail on the head of a beer-drinking man who referred to the drink by its
nickname, "fat ass in a glass."

Another article flagged by Michele is a 1997 PPH piece containing very similar concerns as the article cited above. And, though it seems articles zeroing in on Mainers' longtime love affair with Allen's usually possess too many juicy pull-quotes to choose just one, here's a sampling:
About six months ago, [Sanford detective Randy]
White spotted some graffiti on an old mill wall that confirmed Allen's
popularity among the town's teens. Sandwiched between a marijuana leaf and a
peace sign on the red-brick wall was a white spray-painted outline of a
three-foot-tall bottle. Inside the bottle, someone had scrawled the words:
Allen's Coffee Brandy. ''I wasn't surprised,'' White says. ''There are a
lot of people that worship that particular kind of brandy.''
- John C.L. Morgan


Hurdy Chadwick said...

An outsider's view of Maine's fascination with Allen's, from Colby Buzzell's "State of the Union 2008" in the January 2008 issue of Esquire:

"There's a place downtown called the New Waverly Restaurant [in Bangor]. Everyone is drinking the same cocktail. When I ask the bartender what's up, he points to an article taped up on the wall with the headline, THE CHAMPAGNE OF MAINE and asks if I'd like to try one. I tell him sure.

After he makes me a sample of it -- tastes a bit like a poor man's Kahl˙a -- I tell him I'll take one, and while making me one (just cheap-ass coffee-flavored brandy and milk) he tells me that it's called a Sombrero but there's many other popular names for it, such as, Fat Ass in a Glass, Brown Cow, Fish Chowder, Gorilla Juice.

There's this Maine-i-ac next to me who has one of these beigeish drinks in his hand. He's totally wasted and can hardly speak since he's so drunk, and he's constantly telling me of another name for the drink, which I keep on hearing as "Lake's brother."

But then when I listen more closely to what he's saying, I find out he's telling me that the drink is called Leg Spreader.

Lovely. I then decide to have a few more since another individual tells me that there's an urban myth that 90 percent of all crimes here involve this drink and I want to see if that's true or not."

Link to the story (Bangor is featured on page four):

Lynn M said...

I'm not only in the bar business but I've lived in Maine a long time. In Westbrook obviously you hear it called a 'Sombrero' or 'Gorilla Juice' but the one I've heard for years is my friend Milty calls it (LPR) ‘Liquid Panty Remover’ and recently since we opened the Skybox I've heard it called the ‘Biddeford Margarita’. The last time I’ve drank it was when I was over 20 years ago, I’ll pass on the stuff. Give me a Bar Harbor Blue Berry Ale any day, that's my champainge of Maine.

Westbrook Diarist said...

Great find, Esq.! I guess reading about Allen's in Esquire satisfies my cognitive dissonance fix for the day.

As for Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, I've developed a weekly habit of an afternoon of $1 drafts of the stuff (with blueberry garnishments, no less) at Skybox, with a UEFA Champions League game on the tube.

May 27 can't come soon enough.