If you have not tried this incredibly tasty alcoholic drink, Brandy Alexander Day on January 31 is curated just for you! Held annually, Brandy Alexander Day celebrates the drink known as ‘Brandy Alexander,’ which is made from Crème de Cacao, cream, and brandy, most often of the cognac variety.
History of Brandy Alexander Day
Everyone agrees that this drink is a mouth-watering classic, but their opinion about its origin is less harmonious. A portion of historians believes the Brandy Alexander came about after a bartender named Troy Alexander had a brainwave. He worked at the Rector Hotel in New York and is said to have created this drink just after the turn of the century, for a celebration. As the story goes, there was to be a dinner celebrating a fictional character used in railroad advertisements — Phoebe Snow. Troy wanted to create a white drink for this occasion, to play on the character’s name. The rest is history.
Another version of events goes further back, well into the 18th century. The oldest daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, Princess Mary, was marrying Viscount Lascelles, and this drink was thought up for the wedding celebration. A popular theory also says this drink had another, earlier version, which used gin rather than cognac or brandy. It was also called ‘Alexander’.
Whatever its origins, this drink became immensely popular in the 19th century, particularly after it was mentioned in the movie, “Days of Wine and Roses.”
The Brandy Alexander was also former Beatles member John Lennon’s favorite drink, which he would call ‘milkshake.’ He was introduced to this drink by American singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson during Lennon’s famous ‘lost weekend’ (the period of his life that marked the separation between himself and his wife, Yoko Ono). Upon Lennon’s first introduction to this drink, the pair famously got wildly drunk and were thrown out of the Troubadour — a nightclub — in Los Angeles.
Just like the origins of the drink, the history of the day is a mystery too, at least for now.
Brandy Alexander Day timeline
Our boozy dessert-in-a-glass first appears in print in “The Savoy Cocktail Book;” the author names it ‘Alexander Cocktail No. 2,’ given that there is already a drink named ‘Alexander’ with the same ingredients but with gin as a base instead of brandy.
The film, “Days of Wine and Roses,” starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick features this drink; it causes a massive spike in popularity for the Brandy Alexander in the 70s.
A Granada Television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel, Brideshead Revisited — which names 'Alexandra cocktails' — helps repopularize the drink.
Elizabeth Moss's character Peggy Olson asks for this drink when on a bad blind date in season one of the T.V. drama, “Mad Men.”
Brandy Alexander Day FAQs
What are Brandy Alexanders?
Brandy Alexander is the name of a classic cocktail, originally made from Crème de Cacao, cream, and brandy.
How do you serve a Brandy Alexander?
This drink is usually served straight up without ice. So simple, yet so extremely delicious.
Who is Brandy Alexander named after?
The Brandy Alexander might have been named after the bartender who allegedly created it, Troy Alexander. There is also a possibility it was named after Russian Tsar Alexander II; Alexander Woollcott from the Algonquin Round Table — an informal group of American literary men and women.
Brandy Alexander Day Activities
Have a Brandy Alexander
Check out original recipes online and experiment in the kitchen. Or go out and order the drink at a bar that makes them.
Turn Brandy Alexander into a dessert
Not a big drinker? A dessert variation of this cocktail exists in a milkshake form. Add ice cream (usually vanilla flavor) to a blender and whip it up with all the ingredients.
Throw a cocktail party
Have a cocktail party with Brandy Alexanders as the featured guest of honor. Invite friends and family to enjoy this classic drink, and maybe even offer up the Brandy Alexander dessert.
5 Fun Facts About Brandy Alexander Day
Brandy is derived from the Dutch word 'brandewijn,' which means 'burnt wine'; it refers to the application of heat while brandy is distilled.
Anything can become brandy
Any food item that will ferment — grapes, apples, blackberries, sugar cane, honey, milk, rice, wheat, corn, potatoes, and rye — can be distilled and turned into brandy.
Brandy producers are around the globe
Most producers of wine — countries like France, Spain, Portugal — also make brandy.
It is healthy
A study in the ‘British Journal of the Diseases of the Chest’ states that brandy helps with symptoms of asthma; it is also a common solution for colds and flu.
Brandy is mistaken for whiskey
Since a common burning sensation accompanies both brandy and whiskey ingestion, people often confuse the two.
Why We Love Brandy Alexander Day
It's like dessert with alcohol
The taste is so exquisitely sweet with a hit of alcohol, it’s reminiscent of a delicious dessert. And who doesn't like eating desserts?
It can actually become a dessert
It already tastes like one, but if cocktails are not your thing, you can turn the drink into a dessert! We love multifunctional food, don't you?
This drink deserves more recognition
This classic drink might have faded from the public eye for some time now — its popular relatives, Mudslides and White Russians, are more famous — but we think it deserves a comeback.
Brandy Alexander Day dates