The Brandy Alexander is a luxurious, creamy cocktail that has been popular throughout the 20th century. It is a brandy version of the gin-based Alexander cocktail and, honestly, brandy does make the better Alexander.
The cream and creme de cacao are a perfect pairing for the rich taste of a decent brandy, particularly on cold winter nights. The Brandy Alexander is also a luscious after-dinner drink that pairs well with chocolate desserts.
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
Most brandies will do a great job in the brandy Alexander and there's no need to spend a fortune on this drink. Instead, choose a decent, moderately priced brandy from brands like Jacques Cardin, Hennessy, Korbel, or the like. A V.S. or V.S.O.P is the perfect rating for a drink like this.
Don't overlook small distilleries. Some of the best brandies made today are coming out of America's craft distillery movement and there may be a great option in your own backyard.
The Chocolate Liqueur
There is a big difference between cream and creme liqueurs, particularly when we talk about chocolate. Creme de cacao is not a creamy liquor and it has a subtle flavor of cocoa though it is rather sweet. The Brandy Alexander was not necessarily designed to be a chocolate' cocktail in our modern sense. Instead, it should have a hint of the flavor to accent the cream and brandy.
What does this mean to you? To make an authentic brandy Alexander (and arguably, a better one), stay away from those heavy, creamy chocolate liqueurs. Look for a good creme de cacao while avoiding the really cheap ones as they're often artificially flavored. Bols, Marie Brizard, and Tempus Fugit all make a great creme de cacao and you will find that they're surprisingly affordable.
Choose your preferred heaviness when it comes to the cream. Regular cream and half & half are the two top recommendations. Stay away from milk and heavy cream because they are too light or too heavy.
How Strong Is the Brandy Alexander?
The brandy Alexander may look all nice and innocent and in comparison to other 'up' brandy cocktails like the metropolitan, it is. With an 80-proof brandy and taking the average creme de cacao, we get a drink that's around 19 percent ABV (38 proof).