In autumn at Seattle 's Zig Zag Café, a favorite haunt of West Coast cocktail buffs, bartenders favor sweet liquors like bourbon and brandy. One such drink, ideal for October's advancing chill, is the Brandy Alexander, a time-tested variation on the classic gin pour, the Alexander.See Epicurious.com's complete album of cocktail images and recipes!
A concoction of brandy, cream, and dark crème de cacao dusted with autumn-appropriate nutmeg, the Brandy Alexander was known for decades as a "girl drink." This referred not, as you might assume, to the drink's ability to emasculate any man holding it but to its usage by amorous men to cripple female defenses. "More girls probably became pregnant as a result of guzzling brandy alexander [sic]," writes Joseph Lanza in The Cocktail, quoting from an article in a 1966 issue of Playboy Magazine, "than from any other single cause during the 1920s."
Despite its reputation, it is much more than a super-sweet vehicle for alcohol. The key, says Kacy Fitch, co-owner and beverage director of Zig Zag, is going light on the crème de cacao and using unsweetened cream, so as not to mask the taste of the brandy. "Liquor's a good thing," he says. "People spend a lot of time making it, so you want to taste it."
Brandy Alexander Recipe:
-- By JJ Goode
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