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Bring back the classics - Australian brandy Alexander

There’s a reason a cocktail becomes a classic: it’s delicious and makes the most of the spirit’s features. The brandy Alexander is exactly that, and using this Aussie brandy, we reckon it’s a drink that’s set for a comeback.

Have you ever had that moment at the end of a meal when you’re caught between wanting dessert and having one more drink?

This is the space that the brandy Alexander occupies in supreme stature.

Rich and creamy, yet balanced with the fruit and oak notes, the brandy Alexander is the perfect option when you don’t want to compromise. And with some heavenly brandy coming from Australian craft distilleries, the quality of this dessert cocktail is set for the stars.

How to make a brandy Alexander


- 20ml dark creme de cacao liqueur

- 10ml white creme de cacao liqueur*

- 40ml single cream


Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with grated or powdered nutmeg, shaved chocolate or a thin strip of orange peel.

*You can just use all dark or all white creme de cacao.

Where does the brandy Alexander come from?

There are so many rumours and theories about the origins of the brandy Alexander. Some believe the drink gets its name from 19th Century Russian tzar Alexander II.

Others think it could be from the 1922 royal wedding of the Earl of Harewood and Princess Mary (one of her middle names was Alexandra), where the drink could have first been served.

Perhaps the drink came from the bar of New York City restaurant Rector’s at the turn of the 20th Century. Working the bar at one point was one Troy Alexander, who some say invented this cocktail.

It’s worth remembering that the brandy Alexander is a version of the gin-based cocktail simply called the Alexander. And who knows where that one came from. Cream and gin?

Other Aussie brandies and brandy cocktails

Prime 5 Brandy from 23rd Street Distillery is a smooth, refined brandy, perfect for cocktails or sipping straight. Full of soft, dried fruit notes, nuttiness and gentle vanilla and spices from the five-plus years spent in oak.

Also from 23rd Street Distillery, Not Your Nanna’s Brandy is a younger, livelier version of the Prime 5. Still smooth and easy to drink, this brandy has been in ex-Chardonnay casks for two years.

Strange Omen Brandy from Ironhouse Distillery begins life as purpose-made Tasmanian wine before being distilled and housed in new American oak barrels to gain its remarkable buttery vanilla and ginger aromas with caramel, spices and dried fruit on the palate.

From the master gin crafters at Bass and Flinders Distillery comes something truly special. Their Ochre Fine Aged Brandy has notes of pink lady apples, orange peel and cherry blossom along with signature caramel, vanilla and dried fruit. To taste, you also get almonds, apples and eloquent spice notes of cinnamon and clove.

Brandy is handy in all kinds of cocktails.

If you like the idea of a brandy Alexander, try a Burnt Fuselage - equal parts Aussie brandy, Grand Marnier and dry vermouth (though a little more brandy makes this one much better).

Or perhaps a riff on a brandy boulevardier (which is also a riff on a negroni) is more your thing: equal parts Aussie brandy, rosso vermouth and Campari.

It's also very necessary in a Sidecar, Between the Sheets, Zombies and it puts in the hard yards for a sangria too.

Brandy is a surprisingly versatile spirit, and it also a great gateway drink if you’re looking at getting into whisky too. Just sayin'.


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