The Brandy Alexander cocktail is a sweet, after dinner cocktail; it can be used as digestive, or just as a follow-up at dinners. It will be no surprise by now that we don’t know too much about this cocktail and its origins. There are stories claiming that it was invented for the wedding of Viscount Lascelles and Princess Mary, which took place in London, in 1922. This story is not very trustworthy however, as there are others claiming it as well.
For example, some say it was named after Alexander II, the Russian czar, whereas Alexander Woollcott, member of the Algonquin Round Table and drama critic claimed the cocktail was named after him. What we do know is that it is a variation of an earlier cocktail, named simply Alexander, and which has gin as primary alcohol volume. Today, the Brandy Alexander cocktail is part of the official International Bartenders’ Association of cocktails, and this is the recipe it recommends:
All the ingredients are poured together into a shaker and are well shaken; the resulting mixture is then strained into a chilled cocktail glass; the garnish for this cocktail is grated nutmeg, which is gently sprinkled on top of the drink. Indeed, the Brandy Alexander cocktail is as delicious as it seems, with all those pastry ingredients next to the cognac. Ladies prefer it just as much as men, and it’s popularity is evident even in the fact that it featured in numerous books, movies, television series and even music.
For example, in the incredible movie Days of Wine and Roses, the main character interpreted by Jack Lemmon convinces his new girlfriend to start drinking by offering her a Brandy Alexander cocktail. This is in fact a major point in the film, and practically the basis of the following action showing you how a man, Joe Clay, convinces a woman to become an alcoholic like him so they can enjoy his “passion” together. In literature, this cocktail served as inspiration to Chuck Palahniuk for the name of his main character, who was named Brandy Alexander, in the novel Invisible Monsters. The drink also features in novels like Baronne Street, in Bridesmaid Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. In the novel Faserland, author Christian Kracht uses it as a motif.
Moreover, the Brandy Alexander featured even in phenomenon television series Mad Men, where character Peggy Olson order it to prove she is as fashionable as the girls in Manhattan.