Brandy Alexander

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Brandy Alexander
Brandy alexander.jpg
Primary alcohol by volume
ServedStraight up; without ice
Standard garnishGrated nutmeg
Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
Commonly used ingredients
PreparationShake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle with fresh ground nutmeg.

A Brandy Alexander is a brandy-based cocktail consisting of cognac, crème de cacao, and cream that became popular during the early 20th century.[1] It is a variation of an earlier, gin-based cocktail called simply an Alexander. The cocktail known as Alexander today may contain gin or brandy[2].


There are many rumors about its origins. Some sources say it was created at the time of the London wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in 1922.[3] Drama critic and Algonquin Round Table member Alexander Woollcott claimed that it was named after him. Other sources say it was named after the Russian tsar Alexander II.[4]

The drink was possibly named after Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector's, a New York City restaurant, who created the drink in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow, a character in a popular advertising campaign in the early 20th century.[5]

The cocktail is known to have been John Lennon's favorite drink. He was introduced to the drink on March 12, 1974 by Harry Nilsson, in the midst of Lennon's so-called "lost weekend." The pair began heckling the Smothers Brothers, and whilst being ejected Lennon allegedly assaulted a waitress.[6] Lennon later said the drinks "tasted like milkshakes."[7]

In film[edit]

A Brandy Alexander served on the rocks.

In the movie Days of Wine and Roses, alcoholic Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) takes Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick) out on a date. When she explains that she dislikes liquor but likes chocolate, he orders her a Brandy Alexander. This begins Kirsten's descent into alcoholism.[8]

In the 1981 film Tattoo, Bruce Dern takes Maude Adams out for dinner and orders a Brandy Alexander. When she comments that he does not look the Brandy Alexander type, he replies, "I like the reminds me of the ocean."[9]

In the James Gray movie Two Lovers, Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) tells Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) she drinks Brandy Alexanders with her boyfriend Ronald, a rich lawyer. Leonard orders one at a restaurant to impress her, but ruins the effect by mistaking the stirrer for a straw.[8][10]

In the tv series "Greenleaf" the bishop's wife Lady Mae drinks it on a daily base.

In print[edit]

The character Brandy Alexander in the novel Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk is named after the drink.[11]

Anthony Blanche orders four brandies Alexander in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited. The Granada Television adaptation for television helped repopularize the drink in the 1980s.[citation needed] Christian Kracht repeats the four Brandy Alexanders motif in his 1995 novel Faserland.[12]

In Kurt Vonnegut's book, Mother Night, the protagonist suspects that an overly flattering article in the Herald Tribune about his neighbor was "written by a pansy full of Brandy Alexanders."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Imbibe Magazine, May/June 2010, p. 38
  2. ^
  3. ^ Classic Cocktail Club, Milan, Italy.
  4. ^ "National Brandy Alexander day". eatocracy. Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  5. ^ "Behind the Drink: The Brandy Alexander". Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  6. ^ "When John Lennon and Harry Nilsson Got Tossed From the Troubadour for Heckling". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  7. ^ "The John Lennon we did not know". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  8. ^ a b Aftab, Kaleem (20 March 2009). "The movie cocktail - what's your poison tonight?". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  9. ^ Tattoo (1981) - Quotes, retrieved 2018-07-29
  10. ^ Mason, Ian Garrick (27 April 2009). "Magnetic Suns and Moth Balls: An essay on James Gray's Two Lovers". Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Faserland (1995) chapter 7
  13. ^ Vonnegut, Kurt. Mother Night. p. 50.

External links[edit]