Alexander Cocktail Variations and Substitutions
You can't stray too far from the original recipe, but plenty of swaps are available.
- Experiment with proportions, such as using additional gin but less white crème de cacao or more white crème de cacao than other ingredients for a sweeter drink.
- Different styles of gin will yield different flavors. A London dry gin is the most approachable style and what most people think of. Plymouth gin will have a drier flavor with a slight spice, and old Tom has a stronger flavor with slightly sweet notes and isn't as dry as other gins. Genever has the least botanical notes of all the gins and will create the sweetest version of an Alexander.
- Use heavy cream for a more decadent cocktail or half-and-half for a softer cream flavor. You can even use whole milk in a pinch.
Garnishes for an Alexander
Consider a few of these if a grated nutmeg garnish doesn't sound appealing or you want to explore something different.
- Emphasize the chocolate notes! There are a few ways to go about this. Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the martini for a fancy look. You can also use chocolate sprinkles or chocolate crumbs from coarsely chopping a chocolate bar.
- Add a chocolate rim by melting chocolate chips or a chocolate bar and dipping the rim of the glass in the chocolate after it has a chance to cool slightly. Allow the chocolate to harden completely before serving.
- Swap the grated nutmeg for grated cinnamon or hazelnut.
About the Alexander Cocktail
You may be better acquainted with the famous cousin of the Alexander, the renowned Brandy Alexander. The Brandy Alexander was a riff on the gin version made with cognac instead of gin. Like the Brandy Alexander, there's no clear start to the original. In fact, those drinks aren't even the Alexander's same spirit, as one calls for rye, and the other is the one prepared with gin.
The gin Alexander goes as far back as the early 1900s with no clear answer for its name or how it came to be, but it remains a vintage dessert drink that flies very much under the radar.
Alexander the First
You may not be well acquainted with the classic Alexander cocktail, but after one try, you may find yourself skipping past your usual Brandy Alexander with dessert. With the soft juniper earthy notes and sweet chocolate flavors, this is a perfectly balanced cocktail and just the right way to end the night.