A Brandy Alexander is a brandy-based cocktail consisting of cognac and crème de cacao that became popular during the early 20th century. It is a variation of an earlier, gin-based cocktail called simply an Alexander. The cocktail is widely known for having been John Lennon's favorite drink.
There are many rumors about its origins. Some sources say it was created at the time of the London wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in 1922. Drama critic and Algonquin Round Table member Alexander Woollcott claimed that it was named after him. Other sources say it was named after the Russian tsar Alexander II.
The drink was likely named after Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector's, a New York City restaurant, who created the drink in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow, a character in a popular advertising campaign in the early 20th century.
In the movie Days of Wine and Roses, alcoholic Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) takes Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick) out on a date. When she explains that she dislikes liquor but likes chocolate, he orders her a Brandy Alexander. This begins Kirsten's descent into alcoholism.
In No More Orchids, Carole Lombard drinks them.
In the James Gray movie Two Lovers, Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) tells Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) she drinks Brandy Alexanders with her boyfriend Ronald, a rich lawyer. Leonard orders one at a restaurant to impress her, but ruins the effect by mistaking the stirrer for a straw.
In the 1981 film Tattoo, Bruce Dern takes Maude Adams out for dinner and orders a Brandy Alexander. When she comments that he does not look the Brandy Alexander type, he replies, "I like the foam...it reminds me of the ocean."
Singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith and singer/songwriter Feist wrote a song that compares a lover to the drink. The song appeared on Feist's 2007 album The Reminder as well as Sexsmith's 2008 album Exit Strategy of the Soul.
The drink is mentioned in the song "Fraternity Blues" by American singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
The song "Brandy Alexander" by American indie-rock band The Walkmen draws its name from the drink.
The character Brandy Alexander in the novel Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk is named after the drink.
Anthony Blanche orders four brandies Alexander in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited. The Granada Television adaptation for television helped repopularize the drink in the 1980s. Christian Kracht repeats the four brandy Alexanders motif in his 1995 novel Faserland.
In Kurt Vonnegut's book, "Mother Night," the protagonist suspects that an overly flattering article in the Herald Tribune about his neighbor was written by "...a pansy full of Brandy Alexanders."
The character Raj Koothrappali orders a Brandy Alexander in "The Hofstadter Isotope" episode of The Big Bang Theory, after being mocked for ordering first a grasshopper and then a chocolate Martini.
In season one episode nine of Cheers, while Carla is in charge of the bar, she is asked to make a Brandy Alexander.
In the Fantasy Island episode entitled "Anniversary", Cap Truman (Jim Backus) rushes outside with his butler to greet Tom (Ronny Cox) and Toni Elgin (Lucie Arnaz) with Brandy Alexanders, just as he had done eight years before, the day before their wedding.
In season one episode eleven of Mad Men, Peggy Olson expresses disappointment with her Brandy Alexander while on a blind date.
The drink was included as the Cocktail Moment on the 29 March 2013 episode of The Rachel Maddow Show.
In the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Richards asks for a Brandy Alexander at her first job interview.
In season four episode twenty-three of Chuck, "Big Mike" orders a Brandy Alexander at a wedding rehearsal dinner.
In episode one of Brideshead Revisited, Anthony Blanche orders four Brandy Alexanders in a bar: two for himself and two for Charles Ryder.
In season one episode three of Dilbert, Lena Olsen asks Dilbert to make a "triple Brandy Alexander with an Easter Island sunset chaser" as a way of keeping him occupied while she searches his house.
In the Season 2 episode of Lou Grant, called "Schools", Lou asks the bartender for a "malt." When the bartender admits to not knowing how to make a malt, Lou asks, "Do you know how to make a Brandy Alexander? Just leave out the brandy and give us the Alexander!"