The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Brandy Alexander

Next on the list for December’s barrage of cocktails, is one that is sure to delight your most decadent guests and repulse those looking to maintain their figures this season. This silky, creamy, dream is wonderful as a cold-day warm-me-up or as a capper just before settling down for a long winter’s nap.

The roots of the Brandy Alexander are much like Henry VIII of the Tudor dynasty in that this cocktail gets all the glory and all the women, while it was the father (Alexander, a gin based variant) is largely forgotten in history. The original Alexander first appeared early in the twentieth century. While the Anne (or Mary) Boleyn chasing playboy we are drinking today was created for the wedding celebration of Princess Mary and Viscont Lascelles in London, in1922, and became widely known by the middle of the twentieth century.

This is a very simple drink to make. Start with one and a half ounces of brandy in an ice filled cocktail shaker, any mid-priced option will work here. Add one half ounce of heavy cream and one half ounce of crème de cacao. Shake briskly (I’ve been using the thesaurus again) and strain into a cocktail glass. The traditional garnish is fresh ground nutmeg, but I prefer a light dusting of cocoa powder. Serve this with the rakish arrogance of Henry VII to all of your guests and see how the night proceeds.

Brandy Alexander
1 ½ oz brandy
½ oz crème de cacao
½ oz heavy cream
Mix all ingredients in an ice filled shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite Brandy Alexander story involves John Lennon and Harry Nilsson getting tossed out of a Smothers Brothers show for heckling them while ripped on the aforementioned cocktail. This occurred during Lennon's "lost weekend" period circa 1973 in which he spent his time boozing it up in LA while rooming with Harry and taking a break from Yoko. I enjoy Brandy Alexanders tremendously however it's tough to drink more than 2 or 3 in a row. I never tried garnishing with cocoa powder (which admittedly sounds good) but freshly grated nutmeg, to me, is a distinguishing feature of the cocktail and therefore necessary. When I leave it out the drink lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.