Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Gin Alexander Cocktail

The Gin Alexander Cocktail

a/k/a the Alexander, this “chocolate martini” is full of holiday cheer

Crème de cacao with gin in the mix, cream shaken in for a heavenly fix . . . . These are a few of our favorite things.

So of course we love the The Gin Alexander Cocktail. It’s a delightful early 20th century creation that seems particularly appropriate for December.

Mix one up and you’ll be tasting a historical tipple. And getting a darn good drink in the bargain.


The Gin Alexander Cocktail

Recipe: The Gin Alexander Cocktail

The Gin Alexander Cocktail (originally just called the Alexander) is the parent of the now more famous  Brandy Alexander. It may be the first chocolate-flavored cocktail – the original chocolate “martini,” if you will.

We think this cocktail is too sweet for a before-dinner drink. It’s ideal with dessert, though. Better yet, sip one on a lazy afternoon while you’re sampling holiday cookies.

This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce dry gin (or to taste – see Notes)
  • 1 ounce white (clear) crème de cacao (you can substitute brown in a pinch; see Notes)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream (or half-and-half if you want a lighter drink)
  • a dusting of ground nutmeg for garnish (very optional; see Notes) 
Procedure
  1. Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds or more, until the drink is cold. Shaking longer helps increase the foaminess of the cream, which creates a more attractive drink (see Notes).
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that’s been chilled. Add a dusting of ground nutmeg if desired (freshly ground is better) and serve.

The Gin Alexander Cocktail

Notes

  • This drink traditionally is served “up” in a cocktail glass. Either a classic v-shaped “martini” glass or a cocktail coupe will work. 
  • Our recipe calls for equal parts of all ingredients (a 1:1:1 ratio). This drink originally was mixed with a 2:1:1 ratio (twice as much gin as other ingredients). That works pretty well if you’re using a softer flavored gin like Plymouth. But if you’re using a gin with a more assertive flavor – like Beefeater, our standard gin for mixed drinks – you may want to use less (as we do). But experiment and see what you like.
  • You can find crème de cacao in any liquor store (generally in the liqueur/cordial section). It comes in brown or white (clear) versions. The flavor of both is very similar. But brown crème de cacao will tint the drink slightly, which is why we recommend using the white variety. 
  • Which brand of crème de cacao to buy? We like Marie Brizard, but it’s more expensive than the widely available (and good enough) DeKuyper brand.
  • Our usual reminder: We are non-commercial and are not compensated for making brand suggestions. We recommend what we like and buy with our own money.
  • This drink should be foamy. That means you’ll need to shake it well – more than most other drinks. We sometimes add the cream to the cocktail shaker without the other ingredients or ice, then shake it for 15 seconds or so to give the cream a head start on creating foam (this technique is called dry shaking). Then we add the ice and other ingredients and shake for another 30 seconds or more.
  • Ground nutmeg is the traditional garnish for this drink, but we don’t find it particularly appealing (it works better with the Brandy Alexander). So we usually skip it. But ground nutmeg looks nice (and does add some flavor and visual interest to the drink), so add it if you wish.
  • So what’s the history of the Gin Alexander? As is the case with most cocktails, we’re not entirely sure. But here’s the most widely accepted back story: It’s believed to have been created around 1910 by Troy Alexander (hence the name). Alexander, who was serving as bar manager at Rector’s restaurant in New York City, reportedly created this drink for a banquet held at the restaurant by the Lackawanna Railroad.
  • At the time, the Lackawanna Railroad advertised their use of “smokeless” coal, which was supposed to create less soot (so passengers riding in the carriages wouldn’t have their clothing soiled). To highlight this riding experience, the company’s advertising featured a (fictitious) young lady named Phoebe Snow who always wore white clothing – presumably to demonstrate what a “clean” ride the Lackawanna provided.
  • Troy Alexander wanted to create a pure white drink to riff off their advertising. So the Alexander Cocktail was born. Truth? Fiction? Who knows? Good story, though.
  • Programming Note: This is our last post of the year. We’re taking off until the first Wednesday of 2021. See you then!

The Gin Alexander Cocktail

Good Riddance to 2020

“Gin and chocolate?” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Who knew?”

“Sounds like an unlikely combo,” I said. “But it works.”

“And we definitely need a few more belts of gin to see off 2020,” said Mrs K R.

“Fortunately, things are looking up for 2021,” I said. “Vaccine to the rescue!”

“I’ll drink to that,” said Mrs K R. Drinking to that.

Me too. Hope your holidays are full of fun and joy. Stay healthy, and see you next year! 

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80 comments:

  1. Oh, mercy! Definitely have to try this one as I love gin! And I think there's Crème de cacao in the cabinet! Interesting history with the drink also. Happy Holidays, see ya later! Take care

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    1. Hi Pam, isn't the history of this fun? The flavor is great, too -- you'll like. Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  2. What an amazing combo! I seriously would love to taste some and maybe I really should :-)

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    1. Hi Angie, this is worth taking a sip of -- really fun drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Have a great Christmas, and stay safe and healthy too! Good luck to us all with a vaccinated 2021.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, we're eagerly anticipating the vaccine. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  4. The drink sounds delicious and I love the backstory, true or not. Happy holidays to you and Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, John. And as we always said on the last day of school (thinking we were ever so witty), "See you next year!"

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    1. Hi Terry, we often say that we like cocktail history as much, or sometimes more, than the cocktails themselves. This one is mighty tasty, though. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  5. Oooh sexy drink! Love me a chocolate cocktail - happy holidays!

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    1. Hi Laura, it definitely is a sexy drink. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  6. The perfect holiday nip. I love these photos! GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, isn't it? And we had fun with the photos. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. This looks like the perfect snowy winter cocktail. Happy holidays

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, and it snowed here this morning! Not much, but -- snow. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  8. It looks & sounds really tasty.

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    1. Hi Pam, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I am not a huge gin fan, but this looks so pretty served in the coupe, I might have to give it a try, especially since I have everything on hand! I think it might be nice to sip while watching "The Crown" which is our current nightly entertainment. I believe QE2 might approve.

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    1. Hi Anne, QE2 would definitely approve -- she's a big gin fan. Her favorite cocktail is reportedly the Dubonnet Cocktail, a mix of gin and Dubonnet red. Thanks for the comment.

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  10. This sounds so good and creamy! Perfect for the holidays! I want to stick a mini candy cane on the side of the glass :)

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    1. Hi Ashley, that'd be a fun garnish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. I think chocolate goes with anything! Now pass the gin! Have a great holiday John! Surely you will be sipping something good!

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    1. Hi Abbe, I'm sure we'll be sipping something good. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  12. YUM! I won't need dessert. All I want is one of these beauties!! Enjoy the holidays, John!!

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    1. Hi Liz, one of these would make a pretty good dessert. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  13. ooh this sounds heavenly. makes me think of myself and a girlfriend going into an old working man's pub many moons ago and asking for a brandy alexander. the bartender thought it was sooooo hilarious!

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    1. Hi Sherry, the Brandy Alexander is a good drink. But you do have to pick the right venue to order it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Replies
    1. Hi Natalia, tasty, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Replies
    1. Hi R, totally delish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Who doesn’t love a Brandy Alexander? I have never heard of the gin version but it reminds me (visually) of the Ramos Gin Fizz. What a great way to usher in the New Year! I will certainly drink to that!

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    1. Hi David, this isn't as frothy as the Ramos Gin Fizz but you're right about the visual appearance. Both of them are great looking drinks! And I think we all want to drink to a new year. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Oh, wow, I would love one as well.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, bet you'd like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. What a festive drink for this not so festive holiday season. We've reschedule our Christmas celebration until next July (Christmas in July), so I'll have plenty of time to gather the ingredients so to have it at our celebration. You guys have a wonderfully safe and warm holiday season. See you next year...

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    1. Hi Ron, our celebration will be pretty low key this year, too. Christmas in July sounds like a terrific idea! :-) Thanks for the comment, and see you next year. :-)

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  19. This looks like a perfect wintery wonder! Happy holidays!

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    1. Hi Carolyn, it's a great winter drink. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  20. Enjoy the holidays, John! This drink is so simple, yet sounds so delicious. And it does seem perfect for a winter holiday.

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    1. Hi Jeff, we like doing simple. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  21. Perfect xmas drink John. I love your cocktail photography.

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    1. Hi Priya, isn't this nice? Really good drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Wow thats a great combo, love the colour too, nice and clean

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    1. Hi Raymund, the color of this is so interesting! Nice, light cream color. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. I'll take mine with cookies, please. How delicious and decadent. Happy holidays, John :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, this would be terrific with cookies! Maybe leave out a plate of them a glass of this for Santa? :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  24. Ohhh, gin cocktails are my absolute favourite - add chocolate to that and you really have something! This looks amazing, John. Happy holidays to you and the lovely Mrs KR! See you both in 2021 :)

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    1. Hi Katerina, this is a good drink -- definitely worth trying since you like gin. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  25. Why have I never tried this? And, I love gin. Happy Christmas to you and yours!!!!

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    1. Hi Debra, you'll like! SUCH good flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment, and Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

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  26. Now thats a delicious way to get this holiday started! Dairy and us do not get along very well unfortunately. However, we found this fantastic Baileys Almande which is an almond milk liqueur which is both dairy free and gluten - free. Thinking we can try your recipe with a couple of dairy free substitutes and of course some nutmeg for good measure. will report back. Wishing you and Mrs. Riff and safe and happy holiday season. Take Care

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    1. Hi Bobbi, much of the world can't do dairy, but the almond substitute for Bailey's sounds fantastic! Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  27. I'd love a cocktail to go with my cookies! So interesting that this came before the brandy alexander.

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    1. Hi Lisa, isn't this a nice match for cookies? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Merry Christmas and Happy New Yearbto you too.
    This looks and sounds like a delicious way to cap off the year.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, it's a great way to end this year and start next. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  29. I've got a HUGE bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin. I'm getting a little tired of Gin and Tonic cocktails, so your recipe might be 'just the ticket'! New Years Eve- here I come!

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  30. While doing a long overdue inventory of my liquor supply last week I found a bottle of cream de cocoa. therefore, I have everything for this wonderful cocktail, Shocking! :) This will be fun a drink for the new year. YAY! Hope you and your family are having a wonderful holiday season John!

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    1. Hi MJ, always fun to find an overlooked bottle of booze. :-) Enjoy! Thanks for the comment, and have a terrific holiday.

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  31. The drink is so simple yet looks so delicious! Enjoy the holidays!

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    1. Hi Balvinder, easy and really good. :-) Thanks for the comment, and happy holidays!

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  32. That's an interesting recipe, looks so delicious. Perfect for the holidays !!

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    1. Hi Rahul, it's excellent. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. On my return trip from London I bought a bottle of Bombay Gin at the airport. I never opened it – this was in December 2002. I think this cocktail might be the time to open the bottle of gin and see how it will taste or does gin gets bad? Wishing you a great 2021.

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    1. Hi Vagabonde, booze can go bad if it's low proof (which gin isn't). More often it may lose some flavor, but an unopened bottle of gin that old should be OK, I'm guessing. Enjoy -- and Happy New Year!

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  34. What a pretty drink! Since it's sweet, I might actually serve it instead of dessert. (Who am I kidding, I'd never serve anything "instead of dessert.") Wishing you both a Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi Beth, two desserts are better than one. Just saying. :-) Thanks for the comment, and Happy New Year!

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  35. Happy New Year, John! This cocktail will certainly ring it in with a smooth, sweet start.

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    1. Hi Laura, Happy New Year! And thanks for the comment. :-)

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  36. Beauty in a glass! wonderful cocktail recipe. Happy New year and thanks for sharing your expertise and great recipes. Look forward to many more in this year!

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    1. Hi Sonia, thanks for the comment and Happy New Year!

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  37. Happy New Year John and Mrs. Riff! Snowy white, decadent and just what we need to add a little cheer to this weekend. Stay well and take care

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    1. Hi Bobbi, Happy New Year! :-) And thanks for the comment.

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  38. Years ago my husband and I had a favorite upscale restaurant on the water in Ft. Lauderdale that we used to go to for an afternoon Sunday lunch. For dessert, we would have a Brandy Alexander as "dessert". Now I'm curious about your Gin Alexander. Thanks for the tip about shaking the cream first...good to know.

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    1. Hi Karen, the gin version of the Alexander is a nice change from the brandy one. Enjoy! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Drink looks super cool, and refreshing! Great way to cheer the new year, Happy new year!

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    1. Hi Aarthi, Happy New Year! And thanks for the comment. :-)

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