The Alexander

The history of the Alexander cocktail, as far as I can deduce, is lost to us 21st century bar keeps, but we do know that the drink has been around since before the time of Prohibition. The lost story of the drink does not mean, however, that we can’t enjoy what the cocktailians of history have left us in this sweet, cocoa-tinged concoction.

Many of the current recipes I’ve found for the Alexander call for equal parts of the ingredients shown below, but as I’ve found with other cocktails, the recipes from decades past exemplify the true spirit of the drink by calling for a larger portion of the base liquor. Still, a balance between sweet (less base liquor) and dry (more base liquor) should be your aim if you’re making this cocktail for the first time, so I’m providing the recipe below as a starter (feel free to adjust the amount of gin to produce a cocktail that suits you):

2 oz. gin
1 oz. creme de cacao
1 oz. cream

Pour the contents in an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously until cold. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Alexander

A more common variation of this old-school cocktail is made with brandy in place of the gin, called a Brandy Alexander or a Panama. You’ll often see a dash of ground nutmeg sprinkled on top of the finished Brandy Alexander as a garnish, which adds a nice touch to a cocktail that could rival spiked eggnog during the Christmas season. The gin-based version of this cocktail will give you a good result regardless of what gin you use (within reason), whereas to make a great Brandy Alexander, it would be wise to use high-quality brandy or cognac.

However you decide to take the Alexander, I hope you enjoy, and know that you’re indulging in a cocktail whose story lies somewhere with the bartenders of old; a cocktail that survived the ups and downs of the 20th century largely in its original form to inhabit the knowledge of those bartenders keeping cocktailian traditions alive today.

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