Brandy Alexander Cocktail Drink

Brandy Alexander

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

When you want a timeless drink, the Brandy Alexander cocktail recipe has you covered! Simple ingredients make this cocktail a go-to choice.

Brandy Alexander Cocktail Recipe

Discover the elegance of this Brandy Alexander Cocktail recipe! It's a classic choice for refined palates, blended with Cognac, crème de cacao, and cream.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

260 kl

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Dark Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • Grated nutmeg, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Fine strainer
  • Cocktail Glass chilled

Instructions

  • Chill the Glass: Place your cocktail glass in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes to chill.
  • Mix Ingredients: In the cocktail shaker, pour 1 oz heavy cream, 1 oz Dark Crème de Cacao, and 1 oz Cognac.
  • Shake Well: Fill up the shaker with ice and shake the mixture vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain: Empty the ice cubes from your chilled cocktail glass if used. Fine strain the shaken mixture into the glass.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle some grated nutmeg on top for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Cognac: I've occasionally swapped out Cognac for a good quality brandy when I didn't have Cognac on hand. The flavor profile remains quite similar.
  • Dark Crème de Cacao: White Crème de Cacao can be a direct substitute, but it will slightly alter the drink's color. If you're in a real pinch, you can use chocolate syrup, but be mindful of the sweetness.
  • Heavy Cream: Half-and-half or whole milk can be used, but the drink will be less creamy. Adjust to your preference.

Making a Pitcher of Brandy Alexander Cocktail:

  • Scale: For a pitcher serving 8, use 8 oz of Cognac, 8 oz of Dark Crème de Cacao, and 8 oz of heavy cream.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the Cognac, Crème de Cacao, and heavy cream with some ice cubes. Stir well or shake, if you can seal the pitcher.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into chilled cocktail glasses, garnish with grated nutmeg, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Cognac Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic brandy or apple and grape juice mix for a fruity base.
  • Dark Crème de Cacao Substitute:: use a chocolate syrup.
  • Proceed As Usual: Replace the Cognac with the non-alcoholic substitute and follow the original steps for a delightful non-alcoholic Brandy Alexander.

Making it Vegan:

  • Cream Substitute: Use a vegan cream alternative like coconut or almond milk. Remember, the texture might vary, so choose according to your desired creaminess.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
260
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
10
g
15
%
Saturated Fat
 
7
g
44
%
Sodium
 
8
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
16
g
5
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Potassium
 
28
mg
1
%
Cholesterol
 
32
mg
11
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.5
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Vitamin A
 
417
IU
8
%
Vitamin C
 
0.2
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
19
mg
2
%
Iron
 
0.04
mg
0
%

 

Brandy Alexander Cocktail Drink

Brandy Alexander Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Discover the elegance of this Brandy Alexander Cocktail recipe! It's a classic choice for refined palates, blended with Cognac, crème de cacao, and cream.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 260

Ingredients
 

  • 1 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Dark Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz heavy cream
  • Grated nutmeg - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Cocktail Strainer
  • Fine strainer
  • Cocktail Glass chilled

Instructions

  • Chill the Glass: Place your cocktail glass in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes to chill.
  • Mix Ingredients: In the cocktail shaker, pour 1 oz heavy cream, 1 oz Dark Crème de Cacao, and 1 oz Cognac.
  • Shake Well: Fill up the shaker with ice and shake the mixture vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain: Empty the ice cubes from your chilled cocktail glass if used. Fine strain the shaken mixture into the glass.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle some grated nutmeg on top for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Cognac: I've occasionally swapped out Cognac for a good quality brandy when I didn't have Cognac on hand. The flavor profile remains quite similar.
  • Dark Crème de Cacao: White Crème de Cacao can be a direct substitute, but it will slightly alter the drink's color. If you're in a real pinch, you can use chocolate syrup, but be mindful of the sweetness.
  • Heavy Cream: Half-and-half or whole milk can be used, but the drink will be less creamy. Adjust to your preference.

Making a Pitcher of Brandy Alexander Cocktail:

  • Scale: For a pitcher serving 8, use 8 oz of Cognac, 8 oz of Dark Crème de Cacao, and 8 oz of heavy cream.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the Cognac, Crème de Cacao, and heavy cream with some ice cubes. Stir well or shake, if you can seal the pitcher.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into chilled cocktail glasses, garnish with grated nutmeg, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Cognac Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic brandy or apple and grape juice mix for a fruity base.
  • Dark Crème de Cacao Substitute:: use a chocolate syrup.
  • Proceed As Usual: Replace the Cognac with the non-alcoholic substitute and follow the original steps for a delightful non-alcoholic Brandy Alexander.

Making it Vegan:

  • Cream Substitute: Use a vegan cream alternative like coconut or almond milk. Remember, the texture might vary, so choose according to your desired creaminess.

What is a Brandy Alexander?

The Brandy Alexander Cocktail blends Cognac, Crème de Cacao, and cream. Many regard it as a dessert in a glass due to its creamy and chocolaty profile. Historians trace its origins back to the early 20th century, making it a staple in the cocktail world for over a century. This classic drink is officially listed by the IBA(International Bartender Association) which categorizes it under “The Unforgettables”.

A Brandy Alexander cocktail, shot from above, in a cocktail glass on a wooden board placed on a orange cloth on a white table surrounded by a jigger, chocolate squares, five nutmegs, a bar spoon, and a muddler

What is a Brandy Alexander made of – The ingredients

Gather these ingredients for your Brandy Alexander:

  • Cognac: A brandy that provides the drink with a warm and rich base.
  • Dark Crème de Cacao: A chocolate-flavored liqueur that imparts a sweet and chocolaty note.
  • Heavy Cream: Adds a creamy texture and smoothness to the cocktail.
  • Grated nutmeg (optional for garnish): Offers a hint of spice and aroma when sprinkled on top.

Cognac, Dark Creme de Cacao, nutmeg and heavy cream laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Brandy Alexander?

We will help you make a great Brandy Alexander with our step-by-step instructions:

1
<p>Please place it in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes to ensure it’s cold when you pour it.</p>

Please place it in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes to ensure it’s cold when you pour it.

2
<p>Pour in the heavy cream, providing to the cocktail with its creamy texture.</p>

Pour in the heavy cream, providing to the cocktail with its creamy texture.

3
<p>Add the Dark Crème de Cacao, giving to the drink its sweet and chocolaty flavor.</p>

Add the Dark Crème de Cacao, giving to the drink its sweet and chocolaty flavor.

4
<p>Pour the Cognac into the shaker. This rich brandy forms the base of the cocktail.</p>

Pour the Cognac into the shaker. This rich brandy forms the base of the cocktail.

5
<p>Fill the shaker with ice, allowing you to dilute and chill the cocktail.</p>

Fill the shaker with ice, allowing you to dilute and chill the cocktail.

6
<p>Shake the mixture vigorously. Ensure all the ingredients mix well and the drink becomes cold.</p>

Shake the mixture vigorously. Ensure all the ingredients mix well and the drink becomes cold.

7
<p>Empty your cocktail glass of any ice water, ensuring your drink stays cold without being watered down.</p>

Empty your cocktail glass of any ice water, ensuring your drink stays cold without being watered down.

8
<p>Strain the mixture from the shaker into the glass, removing any ice shards and providing a smooth pour.</p>

Strain the mixture from the shaker into the glass, removing any ice shards and providing a smooth pour.

9
<p>Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg on top, adding a touch of spice and enhancing the drink’s aroma.</p>

Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg on top, adding a touch of spice and enhancing the drink’s aroma.

10
<p>Enjoy your Brandy Alexander cocktail!</p>

Enjoy your Brandy Alexander cocktail!

What is the difference between Brandy Alexander and Alexander?

The primary difference between a Brandy Alexander and an Alexander lies in the choice of spirit. The Alexander was made with gin as its base, providing a botanical flavor profile. On the other hand, Brandy Alexander opts for cognac, which, offers a rich and deep profile. Historically, the Brandy Alexander was born as a natural variation of the Alexander and with time, became the most popular one. 

Brandy Alexander with Kahlua or Baileys

Choosing between Kahlúa and Baileys can significantly influence the drink’s flavor profile when making a Brandy Alexander. Kahlúa, a coffee liqueur from Mexico, infuses the cocktail with rich coffee notes and a hint of sweetness. It’s a favorite for those who appreciate their drinks’ deep, roasted flavor. On the other hand, Baileys, an Irish cream liqueur, introduces a creamy texture combined with hints of chocolate, vanilla, and whiskey. It adds a velvety smoothness to the Brandy Alexander. While both are excellent choices, Kahlúa, especially the well-regarded “Especial” variant, would be my top pick if you’re aiming for a classic taste with a coffee twist.

A Brandy Alexander cocktail, shot close from above, in a cocktail glass on a wooden board placed on a orange cloth on a white table surrounded by chocolate squares, three nutmegs, a bar spoon, and a muddler

Brandy Alexander with Ice cream

Instead of using fresh cream as in the classic recipe, this version incorporates ice, typically vanilla, to achieve a thicker, creamier consistency. Adding ice cream transforms the drink into a dessert-like beverage, making it more decadent and indulgent. The core ingredients of brandy and crème de cacao remain, ensuring the signature flavors of the Brandy Alexander are retained. At the same time, the ice cream adds an extra layer of creamy sweetness.

Variations

Fancy trying out some new flavors? We’ve got a lineup of our favorite variations:

  • Coffee Alexander: Melds coffee liqueur with the traditional creamy base, offering an energizing twist. The robust flavor of coffee complements the sweetness, making it an ideal after-dinner choice for a caffeine boost.
  • Alexander’s Sister: Refreshes with its mint liqueur addition, creating a cool, invigorating experience. The mint blends smoothly with the creamy sweetness, reminiscent of a dessert in a glass.
  • Rum Alexander: Introduces rum for a tropical and slightly spicy twist. The inherent sweetness and subtle spice of the rum add a warm, exotic flair, transforming it into an adventurous choice.
  • Irish Alexander: Features Irish cream liqueur, infusing a whiskey-kissed creaminess. The rich, smooth texture of Irish cream, coupled with whiskey notes, offers a luxurious and comforting sip.
  • Vodka Alexander: Uses vodka for a cleaner, more refined taste. This choice allows the cream and chocolate flavors to stand out, creating a smoother and more elegant experience.
  • Banana Alexander: Brings in banana liqueur for a fruity, dessert-like quality. The tropical sweetness of banana perfectly pairs with the creamy base, evoking the indulgence of a rich dessert.
  • Cherry Alexander: Incorporates cherry brandy, adding a tart and sweet dimension. This fruity twist creates a delightful balance between the cherry’s vibrancy and the creamy sweetness, offering a cheerful and fruity experience.

A side shot of a Brandy Alexander cocktail in a cocktail glass on a wooden board placed on a orange cloth on a white table surrounded by a strainer, a shaker, a muddler two nutmegs and chocolate squares, in front of a light grey wall

History and Origins of the Alexander Cocktail

The Alexander Cocktail has roots in the early 20th century. Historians have identified at least two drinks from this era known by the name ‘Alexander,’ but they differ in composition. Jacob Abraham Grohusko’s “Jack’s Manual on The Vintage & Production, Care & Handling of Wines, Liquors &c.” from 1910 describes the ‘Alexander Cocktail’ as a mix of three parts rye whiskey, one part Bénédictine, with a piece of ice and a twist of orange peel. However, Hugo Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” from 1915 presents a different recipe, combining equal parts of gin, white crème de cacao, and sweet cream, shaken with ice and strained.

A Brandy Alexander cocktail, shot from above, in a cocktail glass on a white marmol table surrounded by Cognac, Dark Creme de Cacao, nutmeg and heavy cream.

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Brandy Alexander?
An average Alexander contains approximately 200-250 calories, depending on the specific ingredients and their quantities.
How strong is a Brandy Alexander in terms of ABV and proof?
The strength varies based on the Cognac used, but typically, an Alexander has an ABV of around 20-25%, translating to 40-50 proof.
What type of alcohol is used in a Brandy Alexander?
The primary alcohol in a Brandy Alexander is Cognac.
In which type of glass is an Alexander typically served?
An Alexander is usually served in a chilled cocktail glass.
What does a Brandy Alexander taste like?
The Alexander offers a creamy, chocolaty flavor with the warmth and richness of Cognac.
What is the typical ratio of ingredients in a Brandy Alexander?
The classic ratio for a Brandy Alexander is equal parts Cognac, dark Crème de Cacao, and heavy cream.
How is Alexander served in terms of ice and presentation?
The Alexander is typically shaken with ice and then strained into a glass, serving it "up" without ice in the final presentation.
Is the Alexander similar to a White Russian?
While both are creamy cocktails, their flavor profiles differ due to the distinct spirits and liqueurs used.

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