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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Sipping Through History: The Sweet Legacy of the Brandy Alexander Cocktail


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HomeCognac Cocktail RecipesSipping Through History: The Sweet Legacy of the Brandy Alexander Cocktail

The Brandy Alexander is a classic cocktail with a history that can be traced back to the early 20th century. And what better brandy than Cognac to make this delicious drink. It is a sweet and creamy cocktail that combines brandy, crème de cacao (a chocolate liqueur), and cream, usually garnished with freshly grated nutmeg. Below is the recipe but first here’s a brief overview of the history of the Brandy Alexander:

Origins: The exact origins of the Brandy Alexander are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have been developed in the early 20th century. The cocktail is considered a variation of the earlier Alexander cocktail, which was originally made with gin. The switch from gin to brandy likely occurred sometime during the early 20th century.

Rise in Popularity: The Brandy Alexander gained popularity during the early to mid-20th century, particularly in the United States. It became a fashionable after-dinner drink and was often enjoyed in high-end restaurants and bars.

Association with Prohibition: The Brandy Alexander’s rise in popularity coincided with the Prohibition era in the United States (1920-1933), during which the production and sale of alcoholic beverages were illegal. Some speculate that the cocktail’s creamy and sweet nature was a way to mask the flavor of lower-quality spirits that were available during this time.

A Staple of Mid-20th Century Cocktails: The Brandy Alexander, along with other “Alexander” variations, such as the Gin Alexander and the Coffee Alexander, became a staple of cocktail menus in the mid-20th century. It was considered a dessert cocktail due to its sweet, indulgent flavor.

Pop Culture References: The Brandy Alexander made appearances in popular culture, including literature and film. Notably, it was mentioned in John O’Hara’s 1934 novel “Appointment in Samarra” and featured in the film “Every Which Way But Loose” (1978) starring Clint Eastwood.

Resurgence: While the popularity of the Brandy Alexander waned in the latter part of the 20th century, it experienced a resurgence in interest in the 21st century as classic cocktails and vintage mixology became trendy. Bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts revisited and reinvented this classic drink.

Today, the Brandy Alexander remains a beloved classic cocktail, and it is often enjoyed as a nostalgic and indulgent dessert-like drink. Its rich and creamy character makes it a favorite for those who appreciate sweeter cocktails, and it continues to have a place in the world of mixology alongside other classic libations.

The Brandy Alexander is a classic cocktail known for its rich and creamy flavor. To make a Brandy Alexander, you’ll need the following ingredients and a few simple steps:


1 1/2 oz (45 ml) Brandy
1 oz (30 ml) Crème de Cacao (dark or white, depending on your preference)
1 oz (30 ml) Heavy Cream
Freshly grated nutmeg (for garnish)


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. This will help chill the ingredients and create a well-balanced, creamy texture.

Add the brandy, Crème de Cacao, and heavy cream to the shaker.

Shake well: Secure the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds. This will thoroughly mix and chill the ingredients, creating a smooth and creamy consistency.

Strain: Using a cocktail strainer or a fine-mesh strainer, strain the cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass. You can use a martini glass or a rocks glass, depending on your preference.

Garnish: Grate a little fresh nutmeg on top of the drink. The nutmeg adds a fragrant, aromatic touch to the cocktail.

Serve: The Brandy Alexander is typically served without ice, as it’s meant to be a rich and indulgent dessert-like drink. Enjoy it immediately.

Brandy Alexander Cocktail
Refreshing Brandy Alexander Cocktail


Some variations of the Brandy Alexander use vanilla ice cream instead of heavy cream to create a frozen dessert-like version of the cocktail.

You can choose between dark and white Crème de Cacao, depending on your taste. Dark Crème de Cacao will give the cocktail a richer, chocolatey flavor, while white Crème de Cacao will be lighter and creamier in taste.

Remember that the Brandy Alexander is a sweet and decadent cocktail, so it’s typically enjoyed in moderation and as a dessert drink. It’s a classic choice for special occasions or when you’re in the mood for a creamy, indulgent treat.

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