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Brandy Alexander (Classic Cocktail Recipe)

Live your best life and treat yourself to a decadent Brandy Alexander tonight!

It’s a luxurious libation that makes you feel like a high-roller. It’s one swanky vintage cocktail, from the velvety texture to the indulgent flavor.

It may say “pinkies out,” but the ingredients scream “easy.” All you need are three things. 

Brandy Alexander with a Hint of Nutmeg
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Make a round for the holidays or have one for dessert. No matter the season, the Brandy Alexander is always a special treat. (Especially when you add ice cream!)

What Is a Brandy Alexander?

The Brandy Alexander is a riff on the classic gin-based Alexander. It’s a dessert cocktail featuring brandy, dark crème de cacao, and heavy cream.

Creamy and chocolatey, it’s a wickedly good treat. The switch from gin to brandy makes it less botanical and sweeter.

Who first made the swap is a bit of a mystery. The original gin version, however, often circles back to bartender Troy Alexander. 

Many say he created it at the Hotel Rector in New York for Phoebe Snow. She was a fictional character advertising a railroad company. 

At some point in the 1900s, using brandy instead became the “it” thing. And I have to admit, I adore it! 

The warming flavor of the brandy is very complementary. Fix one up and see for yourself.

Brandy Alexander Cocktails

Ingredients 

A decadent cocktail made with just three ingredients sounds too good to be true. And yet, it’s a real thing!

Here’s what you need to make this luscious drink:

  • Brandy – You can’t have this cocktail without the brandy! I prefer to use Cognac, which is a type of French brandy. But use any brand you like. 
  • Dark crème de cacao – Dark crème de cacao gives it a rich-looking, chocolate color. The clear version works too, however.
  • Heavy cream – For that luscious, velvety mouthfeel!
  • Nutmeg – Grated nutmeg is the final touch. It adds a nice flavor and a hint of class. If you don’t have fresh nutmeg, then ground nutmeg will do as a substitute.  

How to Make a Brandy Alexander

Ready for your liquid dessert? Grab your cocktail shaker, ingredients, and a glass. And let’s get mixing!

Your drink will be ready in no time. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Shake. Pour the brandy, dark crème de cacao, and heavy cream into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it for about 30 seconds until chilled. 
  1. Strain. Strain the contents into a cocktail glass. 
  1. Garnish. Garnish the top with freshly grated nutmeg.
  1. Sip. Serve and enjoy!
Coupe of Brandy Alexander on a Varnished Table

How to Make a Brandy Alexander with Ice Cream 

Elevate the indulgence factor with a scoop of ice cream! It’s like a boozy milkshake that makes it good to be a grown-up. 

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I particularly like it in the summer as a dessert cocktail. It’s deliciously smooth and icy cold. So it’s a fun way to beat the heat. 

Just swap out the heavy cream for a single scoop of vanilla ice cream. Also, use 1 ounce Cognac or brandy and 1 ounce dark crème de cacao.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Blend. In a blender, combine Cognac (or brandy), dark crème de cacao, and vanilla ice cream. Blend until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency.
  1. Pour. Pour the mixture into a martini or cocktail glass. Garnish it with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top, if desired.
  1. Serve. Serve and enjoy!
Brandy Alexander and Nutmeg on a Wooden Table

Tips and Variations 

Want to know the secret to creating the best Brandy Alexander? Follow these tips. I also included some variations I think you’d like.

  • Splurge on quality crème de cacao. Dark or clear, this non-creamy liqueur has a sweet cocoa hint. Brands like Bols and Tempus Fugit are affordable and quality choices.
  • A note on cacao vs. coffee liqueurs. Dark crème de cacao is chocolate-based, while Kahlúa is coffee-flavored. They’re distinct, so choose accordingly.
  • Choose your brandy wisely. For a Brandy Alexander, a moderately priced brandy works well. There’s no need to spend top dollar on a high-end selection.
  • No Shaker? No problem. Pre-chill the ingredients, then blend with a splash of water and serve in chilled glasses. You could also use a Mason jar with a lid as a substitute. 
  • Try a Grasshopper. A Grasshopper cocktail has green creme de menthe, white creme de cacao, and heavy cream.
  • Make it a coffee Alexander. Just use coffee liqueur instead of crème de cacao.
  • Stick to the original Alexander. Keep everything the same, except use gin instead of brandy.

Brandy Alexander (Classic Cocktail Recipe)

Servings

1

servings

The Brandy Alexander is a classy cocktail people have loved for years. It’s made with brandy, creme de cacao, and heavy cream, so it’s typically served for dessert!

Ingredients

  • Ice

  • 1 1/2 ounces Cognac/brandy

  • 1 ounce dark crème de cacao

  • 1 ounce heavy cream

  • freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Instructions

  • Combine the Cognac (or brandy), dark crème de cacao, and heavy cream in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well until chilled, about 30 seconds
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish it with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Brandy Alexander

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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