The Alexander

Guest post by Sean Lorre, the Blogtender's husband

Now that we’re three drinks in to Alexander Week, let’s walk it back to the beginning. As I seem to be taking up the mantle of historical cocktail dork expert at the blog, I will be leading the tour.

Did you know that, while the Brandy Alexander is the only Alexander that really remains in the everyday-drinking lexicon, the original Alexander was made with gin?

No really, I swear. The Brandy Alexander took the drinking world by storm after its introduction as the signature cocktail at the wedding of some English royal ugly dudes in 1922, but it was the gin version that came first. As with all things cocktail, the specific origins of the original Alexander are shrouded in myth, misinformation, and mystery.

The Alexander was first documented in Recipes for Mixed Drinks by Hugo Ensslin, most likely published in 1916. (Some references out on the interwebs point to either a 1915 or 1917 publication date, but the seemingly more reliable references point to 1916.) Cocktail Kingdom claims that the Ensslin tome was the last New York cocktail guide published before the implementation of prohibition; I am assuming that they must be referring to the second edition.

We couldn’t have done Alexander Week without the original, but I have to admit, my first thought was, “Gin and chocolate, really?” The original recipe -- equal parts gin, crème de cacao and sweet cream -- just didn’t sound like something I would want to drink (and I’ll drink just about anything).

Keeping with our ice cream theme we quickly settled on mint chocolate chip as our swap-out for the sweet cream and the perfect bridge between herbaceous gin and crème de cacao. The fennel seeds were a last minute stroke of genius from Rose.

The Gin Alexander

1 ¼ ounces Hendrick’s Gin

¾ ounces white creme de cacao

¾ ounces Ciao Bella mint chip gelato, plus a little more for the float

Fennel seeds, for garnish

Pour gin and creme de cacao into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Add the 3/4 ounces of gelato. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into cocktail glass. Add a tablespoonish-sized float of extra gelato and sprinkle with fennel seeds.

Tasting Notes:

Despite our initial trepidation this turned out fantastic. Hendrick’s, again, proved to be the perfect gin for the occasion. I’m starting to think there is nothing it can’t do.



1 Cocktail Kingdom claims that the Ensslin tome was the last New York cocktail guide published before the implementation of prohibition. They must be referring to the second edition. (

2 Catalog of Copyright Entries. Part 1. [A] Group 1. Books. New Series, By Library of Congress. Copyright Office (yes, I know this citation does not conform to the Chicago Manual of Style…)


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