A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 10, 2019
Sweet Alice (milk)

"Sweet Alice” was soda jerk slang for a glass of milk. “A glass of milk is just ‘Sweet Alice’ to him (a soda jerker—ed.)” was printed in the Miami (FL) Daily News on April 15, 1934. “Milk is ‘sweet Alice’” was printed in The Sunday Sentinel-Star (Orlando, FL) on September 3, 1939. “Stretch Sweet Alice” was an order for a large glass of milk.

American poet Thomas Dunn English (1819-1902) wrote the ballad “Ben Bolt” (1843), and “Sweet Alice” was Bolt’s sweetheart. Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980), the eldest child of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, was often called “Sweet Alice.” A “Sweet Alice milk punch” was named after her in 1906.

Soda jerk slang disappeared along with soda fountains by the 1950s, and the term ‘Sweet Alice” is of historical interest today.


Wikipedia: Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth
Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth (February 12, 1884 – February 20, 1980) was an American writer and prominent socialite. She was the eldest child of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the only child of Roosevelt and his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee.

4 March 1906, The Daily News (Denver, CO), “Reaches the Top Notch of Renown: Mrs. Longworth Has Drink Named After Her,” sec. 2, pg. 4, col. 1:
NEW YORK, March 3.—Society has paid what it regards as a delicate compliment to Mrs. Nicholas Longworth by brewing a new drink, the “Sweet Alice milk punch.”

Hymnary.org
Oh! don’t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt
Author: Thomas Dunn English
Tune: [Oh! don’t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt]
(A song was copyrighted in 1911.—ed.)

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Sweet Alice Ben Bolt (1912)
Summaries

Ben Bolt on his way to school one day comes across little Alice, the little waif. He takes her to his home and the little orphan is taken to the hearts of Ben’s kind father and mother. The years pass and the two young people grow fonder and fonder of each other, until at last Ben proposes and is accepted.

15 April 1934, Miami (FL) Daily News, “Soda Jerkers Coin Own Talk” by Margaret M. Miles, pg. 10, cols. 1-2:
Suppose you enter a store, slip into a seat and call for a glass of milk. The educated jerker will casually remark: “Sweet Alice.”

He isn’t swearing at you or gasping in amazement. A glass of milk is just “Sweet Alice” to him.

If it is buttermilk, on the other hand, he will call on his “Aunt Dinah.”

3 September 1939, The Sunday Sentinel-Star (Orlando, FL), “Inside Dope on Lake County” by Ormond Powers, pg. 17, col. 5:
The lingo of the drug store boys has always seemed to us nothing short of marvelous. With the help of Guy Neal of Leesburg, who seems to be perfectly at home with simple syrup and cracked ice, we have prepared a list so you can marvel, too.
(...)
Milk is “sweet Alice.”

16 June 1940, Des Moines (IA) Sunday Register, “Ever ‘Squeeze One Sour’ at a Drug Store?” by Kenneth Walk, magazine sec., pg. 8, col. 2:
Ben Bolt’s famous girl friend, “Sweet Alice,” gets you a glass of milk.

17 April 1949, Sunday News-Democrat (Tallahassee, FL), “Jaunty Jargon of Soda Fountain Meaningful: ‘Jerks” Have a Word For It—or Number!” by Steve Yates, sec. 2, pg. 9, col. 2:
Sweet Alice—Milk.

7 May 1950, Detroit (MI) Free Press, “Lucille Ball” (A Hy Gardner Featurette), Parade magazine, pg. 23, col. 2:
For months, while waiting for a break on Broadway, Lucille was a soda jockey in a Times Square drugstore. She still dots her conversation with expressions like: “Straight Kelly” (orange juice), “City Juice” (water) and “Sweet Alice” (milk).

10 June 1951, Miami (FL) Sunday News, “A Language Of Their Own” by Harvey Keeler, Miami Sunday News Magazine sec., pg. 4, col. 2:
Other expressions are apparently used for audience reaction, as it is shorter to order a hot dog than “a beast on a bun,” and it takes less time to say “milk” than “Grade A,” “Sweet Alice,” “Cow Juice” or a “Jersey highball.”

28 April 1953, Los Angeles (CA) Times, ‘Food Has Lost Something” by Cecil Smith, pt. 2, pg. 5, col. 4:
“A large glass of milk.”

“Stretch Sweet Alice.”

9 August 1958, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Have A Lingo All Their Own” by Nancy Osgood, pg. 4-B, col. 7:
ALSO—‘shot” for small Coke—“sweetie” for sweet milk—“churn” for buttermilk—“J-D” for chocolate milk—while a small glass of orange or tomato juice becomes “a stubby O-J” or “a stubby T-J.”

19 October 1980, New York (NY) Times, “On Language: Slang of the Hashslinger” by William Safire, magazine sec., pg. 16, col. 2:
That was sophisticated, but even the squares knew that ‘’Squeeze one’’ called for an orange juice, and that ‘’Stretch sweet Alice’’ was an order for a large glass of milk.

What has become of these terms of yesteryear? The airplane designer who, as a thirsty kid, used to stretch sweet Alice, applied the term to his lengthened versions of giant aircrft, and now we have a stretch DC-9 with 40 extra windows.

Google Books
Practically Useless Information on Food and Drink
By Norman Kolpas
Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press
2005
Pg. 93:
Sweet Alice: Milk.

Google Books
Hash House Lingo:
The Slang of Soda Jerks, Short-Order Cooks, Bartenders, Waitresses, Carhops and Other Denizens of Yesterday’s Roadside

By Jack Smiley
Introduction by Paul Dickson
Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.
2012 (Originally published in 1941)
Pg. 160:
Sweet Alice—milk

Google Books
The Soda Fountain:
Floats, Sundaes, Egg Creams & More

By Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman (Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain)
Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press
2014
Pg. ?:
SODA FOUNTAIN LINGO
(...)
“Sweet Alice”...milk

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, March 10, 2019 • Permalink