The Story of the Alexander Cocktail

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8th January 2024

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The classic cocktail, the Alexander, is one of those drinks that has evolved over the years. The original recipe called for egg white – but not too much. And the spirit of choice has changed a few times too. The version you’ll find on Make Me a Cocktail includes gin, like the original, with equal measures of crème de cacao and cream.

Who Invented the Alexander?

The exact date of the creation of this cocktail is unknown, but it was certainly invented before 1915. One explanation suggests that the drink was named after bartender Troy Alexander, who worked at Rector’s restaurant in New York. He created the cocktail in honour of Pheobe Snow, a fictional character who was the theme of an event one evening.

Some think that the drink was made for the 1915 World Series. The head bartender of the Racquet Club made it for Boston pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander.

The Evolution of the Alexander

The original recipe for the Alexander was around for quite some time before variations of the drink started to become popular. The Brandy Alexander came around about twenty years later and simply replaced brandy for gin, giving the drink a sharper edge.

The proportions of each ingredient changed depending on which cocktail book you
found, with some versions requiring half the drink to be brandy, with a quarter
each of cream and cacao. Other versions went for equal parts brandy and cream,
with half a part of cacao.

However you choose to enjoy the Brandy Alexander, it is now arguably more popular than the
original drink.

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Other Variations

This is one of those cocktails that has so many variations it's hard to keep up! Try an Alexander the Great, a version that uses vodka instead of gin and replaces half the cacao with coffee liqueur. Or you might like a Cherry Alexander, which uses a combination of vanilla vodka and cherry brandy.

A Blue Alexander prefers Blue Bols to crème de cacao, while a Christmas Alexander includes a touch of almond milk. An Irish Alexander uses Irish cream instead of cacao, garnished with a sprinkled flake, while Alexanders’ Sister includes crème de menthe and sugar syrup, and brings back that original egg white.

There are so many different variations, in fact, that we could easily write a whole other
blog post. Why not try a few of your own, bringing in your favourite spirits or
mixers and finding your own signature Alexander?


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Bartender's top tip

Balance is key in mixology. Always measure ingredients. A dash less or more can transform a drink. Experiment with fresh garnishes; they can elevate even the simplest cocktails to new heights.

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