two brandy alexanders in cocktail glasses on wooden bar with bartending tools

Brandy Alexander Recipe: Master This Dessert Drink

Have you ever been to a classy event, like a wedding or a black tie event? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ve noticed someone sipping a white or off-white drink with their cake after the main course. It may be in a Martini or cocktail glass but the appearance is usually the same, and if you’re at a great venue, you’ll even notice some nutmeg floating around. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, you’re looking at a Brandy Alexander.

Brandy Alexander became popular during the 1900s, and it’s been featured in many shows and movies. While nobody knows who it’s named after, one thing is clear, which is the fact that it tastes amazing. For fans of creamy liquor or after-dinner drinks, you’ll want to learn more about what a Brandy Alexander is and discover the best Brandy Alexander recipes.

Thankfully, we’re here to help you along your journey. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Brandy Alexanders. We cover what the drink is, how to drink it, and even where you should drink it.

What Exactly Is a Brandy Alexander: An Overview

A Brandy Alexander is a dessert drink. It was made popular in the early 1900s for its smooth flavor that pairs well with cake and other desserts. While it’s one of the older drinks that people drink today, it’s still a popular favorite. It can be found in most wedding venues, high-end restaurants, and plenty of other venues that serve cognac.

The Brandy Alexander isn’t a single drink; it’s a combination of alcohol and cream. Primarily, the Brandy Alexander consists of cognac and crème de cacao. These ingredients give it a sweet and potent flavor. While these are the main ingredients, heavy cream is also an important component that gives it a smooth taste. That said, if you’re ballin’ on a diet, you can opt for a half-and-half or light cream.

Typically, Brandy Alexanders are white or off-white in color. This makes it easy to tell when you’re looking at one.

What Does a Brandy Alexander Taste Like?

Brandy Alexander is a sweet and creamy dessert drink. Most people claim that the drink has a rich and decadent chocolate taste along with a sweet cream flavor. Aside from these flavors, many people state that it tastes like a milkshake, which makes it sneakily good if you’re trying to catch a buzz without feeling like you’re drinking copious amounts of alcohol. You can also add other flavors if you want to get creative with the drink.

Brandy Alexander can also have a hint of nutmeg used as a garnish and sprinkled along the drink.

What Is the Alcohol Content of a Brandy Alexander?

The average Brandy Alexander has an ABV of about 20%. Its alcohol content comes from the combination of cognac and crème de cacao. While crème de cacao and cognac can be potent drinks, when they’re watered down with a heavy cream the alcohol content naturally comes down. 

That said, you can choose to add more cognac or crème de cacao if you want a Brandy Alexander that packs more of a punch.

What Is the History of a Brandy Alexander?

The Brandy Alexander is a famous cocktail that’s been around for a long time. and there is even some speculation about its history. 

Some sources say that the Alexander Brandy was created in London for the wedding of Princess Mary Viscount Lascelles, which happened in 1922. At the time, one person known as Alexander Woollcott stated that the drink was named after him. While this is accepted by some, it’s not accepted by others. In fact, some people suggest that the drink was named after Tsar Alexander II, who was the Tsar of Russia at the time.

Aside from these theories, it’s also possible that Brandy Alexander was named after a bartender in New York City during the early 20th century. The bartender worked at Rector’s, which was a classy restaurant that served many high-profile people during the 1920s. Sources suggest that he created the drink because he wanted to have a unique white drink at a dinner that celebrated Phoebe Snow; she was a popular advertising figure during the 1900s but not a real person, although she has a cool name.

While not much is known about its origin, it’s a famous drink that’s been around many famous musicians and actors. For example, John Lennon said that the drink tastes like milkshakes. It’s also in several movies like Days of Wine and Roses, Tattoo, and Two Lovers. Ultimately, it’s a popular drink that’s been around for more than a century.

How to Make a Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander isn’t a complicated drink to make but it helps if you have the right ingredients and tools. According to the List of Official Cocktails created by the International Bartender’s Association (IBA), a Brandy Alexander must have 30 ml of Cognac, 30 ml of crème de cacao (the brown kind), and 30 ml of fresh cream. Once you have these ingredients, you can get to work and start making the drink.

To prepare a Brandy Alexander, get yourself a shaker and pour all of the ingredients into it. Also, fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake it for about a minute to ensure that everything mixes together.

Once you have the ingredients shaken and ready to pour, strain the beverage into a cocktail glass and give it one last stir for good luck. While some bartenders may have their own unique spin on the drink, this is the most common method and the one supported by the IBA.

How to Serve a Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexanders aren’t complicated to serve as long as you have the right glasses. Once you have the ingredients combined in the shaker, you can pour the drink into a cocktail glass. If you don’t have one handy, don’t worry, because a Martini glass or a coupe glass will do.

As for garnishes and ice, you can include some ice, but if it was mixed properly in a shaker, you shouldn’t need too much ice because it can water down the flavor. We also recommend topping the drink off with grated nutmeg to impress your guests or to get some more flavor out of the mixture.

When it comes to serving Brandy Alexander with food, it’s a dessert drink, so you don’t want to slurp it down with a big bowl of pasta. Instead, refrain from drinking it unless you have cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake, or fruit tarts in front of you.

When to Drink a Brandy Alexander 

Since its creation, the Brandy Alexander has been a famous cocktail. It’s common to find during classy events like weddings, dinner parties, and other formal events. Typically, the drink is best served as an after-dinner drink to cleanse the pallet and aid with digestion. That said, it doesn’t have a strong coffee flavor or the caffeine that some other dessert drinks have.

Another thing to note about the Brandy Alexander is that it’s a popular drink around the holidays. If you dislike eggnog, you might prefer something with a smoother taste like Brandy Alexander this holiday season.

What Are Some Brandy Alexander Variations?

The Brandy Alexander doesn’t have too many variations. It’s usually served as a dessert drink and it does a good job functioning as one. That said, don’t shy away from changing things up if you want to impress your guests or enjoy a more refined drink.

One of the most common variations is a Brandy Alexander with ice cream. This variation requires ice cream to be added to the drink once the mixture is poured into a cocktail glass. You can get creative with the flavors, but a nice chocolate or mint chocolate chip ice cream can really bring out the drink’s flavor.

Some other variations of Brandy Alexander may incorporate other types of liquor, like gin, to give the drink a more potent taste. That said, you don't want to take things too far with the variations because it can go from a Brandy Alexander to someone like a Black Russian with cream.

Add a Touch of Class with Brandy Alexander

brandy alexander in two cocktail glasses with nutmeg grater and bar tools

Brandy Alexander is a classy drink that can instantly make you feel like part of the social elite. When you pull this out at a dinner party, you’ll have people asking what it is, but those in the know will give you a nod of approval. Remember to focus on drinking it during dessert and in the evening for the best flavor pairings.

Even if you’re not a fan of dessert drinks, it’s worth a try for its rich and creamy flavor. Plus, it packs more of a punch than some other dessert drinks if you use a high-quality cognac like Remy Martin. 

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