|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||Straight up; without ice|
|Standard garnish||Grated nutmeg|
|Standard drinkware||Cocktail glass|
|Commonly used ingredients|
|Preparation||Shake 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Lennon later said the drinks "tasted like milkshakes."
In film and television
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.
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 foam...it reminds me of the ocean."
The 1981 Granada Television production of Brideshead Revisited, episode 1, (based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh) has a scene where Anthony Blanche offers Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons) two Brandy Alexanders while at Oxford.
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.
In the TV series Greenleaf the bishop's wife Lady Mae drinks it on a daily basis.
In the very first episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show Mary asks Lou Grant for a Brandy Alexander in her job interview
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. Christian Kracht repeats the four Brandy Alexanders motif in his 1995 novel Faserland.
- Imbibe Magazine, May/June 2010, p. 38
- Classic Cocktail Club, Milan, Italy.
- "National Brandy Alexander day". eatocracy. Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
- "Behind the Drink: The Brandy Alexander". Liquor.com. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
- "When John Lennon and Harry Nilsson Got Tossed From the Troubadour for Heckling". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- "The John Lennon we did not know". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- Aftab, Kaleem (20 March 2009). "The movie cocktail - what's your poison tonight?". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- Tattoo (1981) - Quotes, retrieved 2018-07-29
- Mason, Ian Garrick (27 April 2009). "Magnetic Suns and Moth Balls: An essay on James Gray's Two Lovers". iangarrickmason.com. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
- Faserland (1995) chapter 7
- Vonnegut, Kurt. Mother Night. p. 50.
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