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Brandy Alexander

Rich and strong, our boozy Brandy Alexander ramps up the cognac to create a better beverage. Craft one at home in just five minutes if you can handle it.

Brandy Alexander with Black Background
Image: ©2foodtrippers

We were Brandy Alexander novices until we crafted the creamy dessert cocktail at home. After three tries, we became Brandy Alexander fans.

We also became a little bit intoxicated but that’s a different story.

What Is A Brandy Alexander?

Brandy Alexander with Cream Background
The Brandy Alexander is a classic cocktail that is yet to go out of style. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Wondering what a Brandy Alexander is? While the creamy cocktail may be a Hollywood darling, it’s not as popular as dessert drinks like Eggnogs, Mudslides and Milk Punch. In fact, we had never tasted the classic pre-prohibition cocktail until we crafted Brandy Alexanders at home.

Discover more of our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktails.

Following the standard Brandy Alexander recipe, our first two attempts included equal parts of cognac, crème de cacao and cream. We crafted one with dark crème de cacao and the other with white crème de cacao to see which version of the chocolate liqueur we preferred.

Brandy Alexander with Liquor Bottles
Surprise! We both prefer dark crème de cacao in our Brandy Alexander cocktails. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While we both agreed that the Brandy Alexander crafted with dark crème de cacao was superior, we weren’t particularly wowed by the drink. To us, it was too similar to a Milk Punch to be special. So we took the cognac cocktail to the next level…

By increasing the cognac from one ounce to one and a half ounces, we essentially changed the ingredient ratio from 1:1:1 to 1:1.5:1. Voila! This boozier Brandy Alexander was a winner and the one that we want to imbibe again and again and again.

History Of The Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander with Blue Background
We’d thank the mixology maven who invented Brandy Alexander if we knew whom to thank. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Most cocktail historians agree that the original Alexander was crafted with gin, crème de cacao and cream. Beyond that origin, the stories get fuzzy. Were the historians drinking too many Brandy Alexanders? It’s possible.

Troy Alexander, a bartender at the Rector Hotel in New York in the early 1900s, is a solid candidate for the honor of creating the original gin-based Alexander. If so, he probably named the drink after himself. However, some historians assert that the drink was named after a Philadelphia Phillies baseball pitcher named Grover Cleveland Alexander while others link it to other Alexanders. No, Alexander the Great was not one of the Alexanders.

Fun Fact
The brandy version of the Alexander appeared in William J Tarling’s Cafe Royal Cocktail Book in 1937.

Brandy Alexander with White Background Close Up
Is it just us or was this Brandy Alexander almost too pretty to drink? | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While its history remains a mystery, the Brandy Alexander has played a supporting role in movies like The Days of Wine and Roses and TV shows like Mad Men. John Lennon compared Brandy Alexanders to milkshakes And, after a century (give or take) in the bars, it inspired a 2007 Feist song in which the singer rhapsodizes about how the Brandy Alexander goes down easy.

Yes it does, Feist. Yes it does.


Brandy Alexander Ingredients
The only ingredients required to craft our boozy Brandy Alexander are cognac, crème de cacao and cream. However, you’ll also need ice for shaking the cocktail and grated nutmeg to finish it. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Brandy Alexander’s ingredient list is short enough to count on one hand:

  • Cognac
  • Crème de Cacao
  • Cream
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Grated Nutmeg (finishing touch)

You likely have Cognac and Crème de Cacao in your liquor cabinet. If not, you should easily find them at your local liquor store. As for cream and nutmeg, both pantry items are available at markets around the world.

Bottles of Cognac and Creme de Cacao
We used these two bottles of liquor in our boozy Brandy Alexander recipe. We already had the cognac in our liquor cabinet and purchased the crème de cacao specifically for this recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Like many Brandy Alexander recipes, our recipe calls for cognac, a twice-distilled, barrel-aged brandy produced in Cognac, France. Similar to our Vieux Carré recipe, we use Courvoisier V.S. cognac with a 40% ABV.

However, unlike our Grasshopper recipe, we use dark crème de cacao instead of white crème de cacao. We bought a bottle of Bols dark crème de cacao for 14 euros. It has a 24% ABV and a rich cocoa flavor.

How To Craft A Brandy Alexander Cocktail

Brandy Alexander Mise en Place
Once you assemble the ingredients and bar tools, you’re five minutes from drinking your Brandy Alexander. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The first step is to measure the two liquors. You’ll want to measure one ounce of the crème de cacao and one and a half ounces of cognac. We use a Japanese Jigger in this and other cocktail recipes to ensure accurate measurements and clean pours.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Measuring Cognac for a Brandy Alexander
Measuring the liquors is the first step in our boozy Brandy Alexander recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pour each liquor directly into a shaker as you measure them. We recommend using a Boston Shaker since it’s easy to use and clean. Plus, it never leaks and the lid doesn’t stick to the base.

Pouring Liquor into a Brandy Alexander Recipe
We pour each liquor into a shaker as soon as we measure the required amount. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Next, measure an ounce of cream and pour it into the shaker with the liquors. Add a handful of ice.

Close the shaker and shake vigorously until the liquids are thoroughly mixed and chilled. This step should take about 20 seconds.

Cream for Brandy Alexander Recipe
An ounce of cream is key for the Brandy’s Alexander’s creamy, dreamy consistency. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Strain the creamy drink directly into a coupe or martini glass. You could also serve it in a lowball glass on the rocks.

Straining a Brandy Alexander
Be sure to admire the color as you strain the Brandy Alexander into your glass of choice. Our glass of choice is a vintage coupe glass we bought in Paris. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The last step is to lightly grate nutmeg directly on to the cocktail.

Grating Nutmeg to Garnish a Brandy Alexander
Grated nutmeg adds the finishing touch to our boozy Brandy Alexander recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pro Tip
Don’t skip this final step. Freshly grated nutmeg enhances the Brandy Alexander’s flavor, appearance and aroma.

Variations And Alternatives

Crafted Brandy Alexander
Crafting this Brandy Alexander took us five minutes and made our taste buds happy. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Our boozy Brandy Alexander is a pretty perfect potent potable. However, here are some variations and alternatives if you want to experiment to make the drink your own.

  • Reduce the cognac to craft a less potent Brandy Alexander cocktail.
  • Replace the dark crème de cacao with white crème de cacao to craft a lighter Brandy Alexander cocktail.
  • Replace the cream with half-and-half or milk to craft a less creamy Brandy Alexander cocktail.
  • Replace the cream with ice cream to blend a frozen Brandy Alexander cocktail.
  • Craft a Milk Punch cocktail if you’re in the mood for a bourbon.
  • Craft a Mudslide cocktail if you’re craving coffee liqueur.
  • Craft a Grasshopper cocktail if you’re feeling minty.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Brandy Alexander taste like?

The Brandy Alexander is both sweet and creamy. However, with two liquors in its ingredient list, the Brandy Alexander is definitely for adults only.

What are the ingredients in a Brandy Alexander?

Cognac, Crème de Cacao, Cream, Ice (for shaking) and Grated Nutmeg (finishing touch)

Is the Brandy Alexander shaken or stirred?

The Brandy Alexander is shaken, not stirred.

Where was the Brandy Alexander cocktail invented?

The Brandy Alexander’s history is a mystery but it was probably invented in New York City.

When’s the best time to drink a Brandy Alexander?

Dessert time is the best time to drink a Brandy Alexander since the creamy cocktail tastes like liquid dessert.

What type of glass is best for a Brandy Alexander?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could serve it in a small martini glass instead.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

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Brandy Alexander Recipe

The Brandy Alexander is as easy to craft as it is to drink. Our boozy version of the classic cocktail is an after dinner winner.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 267kcal


  • ounces cognac
  • 1 ounce dark creme de cacao
  • 1 ounce cream
  • nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • ice cubes (for shaking)


  • Combine cognac, creme de cacao and cream in a shaker.
  • Add several ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds until the liquids are mixed and chilled.
  • Strain into a martini or coupe glass.
  • Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Pro Tips

  • You can replace the dark cacao with white cacao based on preference and availability.
  • You can reduce the cognac from 1.5 ounces to 1 ounce if you prefer a less boozy beverage.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 29mg | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 417IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: March 2, 2022

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