Brandy Alexander Cocktail

Brandy Alexander Cocktail

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
240 Calories
11g Fat
11g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 240
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 9mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 31mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The brandy Alexander is a luscious cocktail that charmed drinkers for most of the 20th century and hasn't lost any appeal. It's not overly sweet, although it is indulgent, and the simple recipe finds a perfect balance between just three ingredients.

Although its true origin is unknown, and many have claimed the cocktail was named after them, all stories seem to point to a New York bartender named Alexander, who was the true mastermind behind this smooth and delicious concoction. The cocktail was not necessarily designed to be a ​chocolate cocktail in the modern sense. Instead, it should have a hint of chocolate flavor accenting the cream and brandy.

This is one of the great retro brandy cocktails, and the recipe could not be easier: one part each of brandy, dark crème de cacao, and cream. Some like to go heavy on the brandy but the classic recipe is as good as it gets. Keeping everything equal worked for countless years and there's no need to mess with perfection.

While this cocktail is a dessert on its own, it can be paired with food. Berry desserts, custards, and lightly sweetened citrus or vanilla cream treats make excellent complements. A chocolate dessert might be too much, so choose fresher flavors.


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"This is one of my favorite cocktails and one that I almost always make for myself. This equal-parts recipe is bang on. The flavors of light cinnamon and white chocolate from the cacao rides on a wave of brandy that’s wrapped in a silky mouth feel. I cannot get enough of this cocktail." —Sean Johnson

Brandy Alexander Cocktail Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 ounce brandy

  • 1 ounce dark crème de cacao liqueur

  • 1 ounce cream

  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Brandy Alexander Cocktail ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, pour the brandy, crème de cacao, and cream. Shake well.

    liquids and ice in a cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Strain the liquids from the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg. Serve and enjoy.

    Brandy Alexander Cocktail with nutmeg on top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Is Kahlúa the Same as Crème de Cacao?

Although dark créme de cacao might look similar in appearance to Kahlúa, the former, as its name entails, is made from cacao beans and is a chocolate-flavored liqueur. The latter is a coffee-flavored liqueur.

Some dessert recipes allow swapping one for the other, but in the cocktail realm, a true brandy Alexander needs the chocolaty flavor to succeed.


  • 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. Don't overlook small distilleries as they make some of the best brandies on the market.
  • Crème de cacao is not a creamy liquor, has a subtle cocoa flavor, and is rather sweet. Bols, Marie Brizard, and Tempus Fugit all make a great crème de cacao, and you will find that they're surprisingly affordable.
  • Choose your preferred heaviness when it comes to the cream. Heavy cream and half-and-half are the top recommendations. Milk can be too light, but if you want to use it, go with 2 percent or whole milk.

Recipe Variations

  • The Alexander was originally a gin cocktail. To make it, simply replace the brandy with gin. It's interesting to compare the two: Gin's botanical flavor adds an interesting depth to the drink. However, there's a reason the brandy version has outlasted the original, so most people will find it preferable.
  • For dairy intolerances or allergies, or for guests who have a dairy-free approach to their diets, a dairy cream alternative can work in this cocktail. The flavor profile will not be the same, but it's certainly worth trying with almond, soy, rice, or other non-dairy beverages. Even vegan unsweetened coffee creamers could work as long as they don't have a strong flavor.

How Strong Is a Brandy Alexander?

The brandy Alexander may look and taste innocent, and in comparison to other brandy cocktails like the metropolitan, it is. With an 80-proof brandy and the average crème de cacao, this drink's alcohol content is around 19 percent ABV (38 proof). However, it is not a light cocktail, so don't let its sweet taste trick you into drinking more than you intend to.