The Brandy Alexander is a dessert drink: chocolatey, sweet, creamy and smooth. Because the alcohol taste is so light, you might think of it as a spiked milkshake. But it’s more subtle and grown-up than that.
Don’t be fooled by the taste. Far from being weak, this drink contains a standard serving of brandy, plus an ounce of liqueur. And that means it’s actually a little bit on the strong side.
It’s a popular choice for occasional drinkers, but it’s also beloved by many veteran cocktail drinkers. It just tastes so good.
The only mixer is an ounce of half-and-half (or, for those of you in regions where half-and-half isn’t a thing, single cream, or equal parts whole milk + whipping cream).
Cream gives this drink a wonderful texture – smooth and silky, and just a little bit thick. It feels luxurious, like a Grasshopper.
The Taste of a Brandy Alexander
This drink tastes mostly like chocolate. That’s the dominant note you notice first, and throughout the drink.
But the brandy adds something else – something very subtle that you have to think about. Depending on the brand you use, it adds hints of fruity notes, or maybe flowery or citrus.
The nutmeg adds a subtle note of spice that you aren’t quite expecting. It goes very well with the brandy and creme de cacao.
And that’s what makes this taste like a drink for grown-ups instead of a spiked milkshake. It’s subtle and easygoing but sophisticated – a little like the Velvet Hammer.
When and How to Enjoy
This drink works wonderfully as an after dinner drink because it’s sweet enough to replace dessert. You can make it even more sweet by topping it with whipped cream.
Or just drizzle syrup in the glass before pouring the drink, as you do with the Chocolate Raspberry Martini. And you can still add whipped cream on top, if you want.
You can get as fancy as you like with this drink, but you don’t have to. Served straight up, with no other garnish than nutmeg, it’s just delicious.
You could try to pair this one with a meal, but the richness of it works better with appetizers or light snacks. Plus, the chocolate flavor isn’t typically a great fit for meats and vegetables.
If you want to serve this one with food, think about what goes well with chocolate milk. Orange slices or berries, for example.
Nuts of any variety go nicely with it, too. Salty treats like bacon or asiago cheese can also work surprisingly well.
Served with appetizers, it makes a nice aperitif. Pair it with a light pastry or slice of cake, and you’ve got a great dessert.
It’s also good to serve at parties – you can even mix up a pitcher in advance. While you don’t need an occasion to enjoy it, it makes a great choice for holiday entertaining.
Brandy Alexander Recipe
Tip: grind a fresh, whole nutmeg over the top of the drink and it'll have more flavor than ground nutmeg from a jar.