To make a Brandy Alexander combine 1 1/2 ounces of brandy, 1 ounce of dark creme de cacao and 1 ounce of half and half in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh ground nutmeg.
Variations of the classic Brandy Alexander include a cherry vanilla version, in which you add 1/2 ounce vanilla liqueur and 1/2 ounce cherry liqueur to the brandy, creme de cacao and half and half mixture. A heavy cream can also be used as substitute for half and half.
The Brandy Alexander cocktail became popularized during the 20th century. It can be seen as the drink of choice in movies such as "Days of Wines and Roses," " No More Orchards" and "Two Lovers." The drink has also been referenced in various television shows including "Cheers," "Big Bang Theory" and "Mad Men." In "Invisible Monsters," a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, there is a character named after the drink.
Some of the earlier versions of the cocktail used gin instead of brandy, a drink referred to as an Alexander. Some historians believe the drink originated in London in 1922 for the wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles, while others believe it was named after the Russian tsar Alexander II.