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] Ice cream can be added for a "frozen Brandy Alexander".[3]


There are many rumours about its origins. Some sources say it was created at the time of the London wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in 1922.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] Lennon later said the drinks "tasted like milkshakes."[8]

In film and television[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.[9]

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."[10]

The 1981 Granada Television production of Brideshead Revisited, episode 1, (based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh) has a scene where Anthony Blanche (Nickolas Grace) offers Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons) two Brandy Alexanders while at Oxford.

In the show Three's Company, Jack is catering a party where one of the guests orders a Brandy Alexander from Mr. Roper, who is the bartender. Stanley gives her a beer.

In the show Cheers episode 9 of season 1, Diane (Shelly Long) orders 3 drinks one being a Brandy Alexander from Carla (Rhea Pearlman) who then just gives her three beers instead.

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.[9][11]

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.

In the film A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, Charlie Sheen's character drinks Brandy Alexanders throughout the film.

In the TV series The Big Bang Theory, Raj Koothrappali drinks Brandy Alexander in a pub.

In the film "Bedazzled" "Brendan Fraser" allegedly drinks Brandy Alexanders and runs around singing while wearing his "Speedo"

In the Netflix movie "Between Two Ferns: The Movie" Zach Galifianakis orders a Brandy Alexander while talking to Chrissy Teigen at a bar.

In print[edit]

The character Brandy Alexander in the novel Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk is named after the drink.[12]

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.[13]

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."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Imbibe Magazine, May/June 2010, p. 38
  2. ^
  3. ^ Buller's Professional Course in Bartending For Home Study. Harvard Common Press.
  4. ^ Classic Cocktail Club, Milan, Italy.
  5. ^ "National Brandy Alexander day". eatocracy. Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  6. ^ "Behind the Drink: The Brandy Alexander". Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  7. ^ "When John Lennon and Harry Nilsson Got Tossed From the Troubadour for Heckling". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  8. ^ "The John Lennon we did not know". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  9. ^ a b Aftab, Kaleem (20 March 2009). "The movie cocktail - what's your poison tonight?". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  10. ^ Tattoo (1981) - Quotes, retrieved 2018-07-29
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Faserland (1995) chapter 7
  14. ^ Vonnegut, Kurt. Mother Night. p. 50.

External links[edit]