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.

Recent entries:
“Running is a mental sport and we are all insane” (4/28)
“Monday must be a man. It comes too quickly” (4/28)
“Monday is the perfect day to correct last week’s mistakes” (4/28)
“There’s no more difficult transition than Sunday to Monday” (4/28)
“What do you call a Mexican drowning in mayonnaise?"/"Sinko de Mayo.” (4/28)
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Entry from November 30, 2016
“I’m allergic to alcohol. Every time I drink I break out in handcuffs”

"I’m allergic to alcohol. Every time I drink I break out in handcuffs” is a jocular saying that has been printed on many images. “I have an allergy to alcohol; when I drink I break out in handcuffs” was cited in The Guardian (UK) in 1993.

Manhattan-born actor Robert Downey Jr. popularized the line in 2003 when he said:

“Oh, I don’t drink these days, I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs.”


11 September 1993, The Guardian (UK), “When the going gets Hairy” by Paul Hipp, Weekend sec., pg. 18, col. 3:
I have an allergy to alcohol; when I drink I break out in handcuffs.

Google Groups: alt.recovery.aa
Back from “Summer Vacation”
bcol...@pppmail.nyser.net
9/9/96
(...)
“No, thanks, I’m allergic to alcohol ... when I drink, I break out in handcuffs.”

Google Groups: misc.emerg-services
Handcuffs-humor
Jeff McCann
1/24/97
(...)
Big Jim went about, oh, 350 lbs. and was 6’5” in his bare, size 15 feet. 
(...)
“Yep,” he told me, “its an allergy all right.  Seems like every time I drink anymore, I break out in handcuffs!”

Google Groups: alt.recovery.aa
Silly Slogans and other Sayings....
Sandra Donnell
11/14/97
(...)
“Every time I drink, I break out in handcuffs and get a very bad case of bars.”

16 February 2000, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette “A Visit to the School of Hard Knocks” by Grace Rishell, pg. W-1:
An inmate who had never used drugs as a youth turned to heroin after he was wounded in Vietnam. “I found out I have an allergy to heroin. Everytime I use it, I break out in handcuffs,” he said. It was a joke, but a serious joke.

13 July 2001, Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA), “A Punk Revival” by Ben Wener, pg. Music4:
“Are you kidding? Every day! I take a drink, it’s over. It’s been proven. I’ve proved it. ... Just the other day someone on a radio program asked us about drinking and getting high ... and I said, `If I drink, I break out in handcuffs.’ It’s just bad news.”
(Jack Grisham of the band TSOL.—ed.)

21 April 2002, South Florida Sun-Senintel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), “Hooked: Gary Muir’s Life Is a Series of Ups and Downs” by Li Doup, pg. 1E:
Recently, at a restaurant, Muir ordered iced tea while his friends drank.

“I’m allergic to alcohol,” he told the waiter. “I break out in handcuffs.”

21 January 2003, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), “People” compiled by Suzanne Condie Lambert, pg. E2, col. 2:
While visiting Levi’s Lounge in Park City, Utah, (actor Robert—ed.) Downey, in town to promote The Singing Detective, spotted a pile of beers in the snow, the New York Post reports. “Oh, I don’t drink these days,” Downey said, sighing. “I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs.”

“And I Quote Blog”
“Oh, I don’t drink these days, I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs.”
-- Robert Downey, Jr., actor.
Posted by Todd HellsKitchen at 1/21/2003 03:16:00 PM

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Comic Quotes
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd
2004
Pg. ?:
I don’t drink these days. I am allergic to alcohol and narcotics. I break out in handcuffs.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR.

Twitter
Jim Reams
‏@jimreams
@lizziekeiper “I’m allergic to drugs and alcohol. They make me break out in handcuffs.” -Robert Downey, Jr.
10:38 AM - 24 Jun 2008

Twitter
Nick Longo
‏@NickLongo
@David_N_Wilson I am allergic to alcohol. I break out in handcuffs and crazy chicks.
3:21 PM - 8 Dec 2008

Google Books
A Drunks Tale from a Living Hell to Freedom:
A Message of Hope for Alcoholics and Their Families

By Frank K
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
2015
Pg. ?:
I’m allergic to alcohol; when I drink I break out in handcuffs.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, November 30, 2016 • Permalink