Frozen Brandy Alexanders with Ice Cream are a memorable, fun and elegant dessert that I’ve been making for years. Traditional brandy Alexander ingredients of brandy and creme de cacao are turned into into a frosty cocktail by swapping out the cream for ice cream. My friends and family love my version of this creamy, sophisticated dessert drink so much that Robert and I served them at our wedding reception!
(Note: this is an older post from 2016 that was significantly updated in 2023.)
Table of Contents
- What is a Brandy Alexander?
- Brief History of the Brand Alexander Cocktail
- Frozen Brandy Alexander Ingredients
- How to Make a Brandy Alexander with Ice Cream
- Frozen Brandy Alexander Variations
- How to Serve this Brandy Alexander Recipe with Ice Cream
- Storing this Brandy Alexander Recipe
- Other Cocktail Recipes to Try
- Brandy Alexander Recipe Ice Cream FAQs
- Frozen Brandy Alexander Drink
What is a Brandy Alexander?
Brandy Alexanders are a classic cocktail that’s been around for years, and is a creamy drink comprised of only three ingredients – equal parts of brandy, crème de cacao, and heavy cream.
As the name indicates, the foundation of this timeless luxurious cocktail is brandy, a distilled spirit derived from grapes or other fermented fruit. Its complex flavor profile, ranging from fruity to floral to spicy, adds depth and character to the drink.
However, rich, velvety crème de cacao, a chocolate liqueur, is really the star ingredient, with its subtle chocolatey undertones. There are two varieties of crème de cacao, dark and white, and either can be used in a Brandy Alexander. – it’s personal preference. Dark crème de cacao provides a deeper, richer chocolate flavor and darker color to the cocktail, while white crème de cacao imparts a bit lighter, more delicate chocolate taste.
Brief History of the Brand Alexander Cocktail
The exact origins of the Brandy Alexander are somewhat ambiguous, but most sources point to the early 1900s as its time of creation. While there are various theories surrounding its specific history, it’s widely believed to have become popular in the aftermath of Prohibition, when spirits like brandy became more readily available.
One popular theory attributes the cocktail to New York City bartender Troy Alexander, who was said to have created it at Rector’s restaurant, as a tribute to a successful advertising campaign. The story goes that the drink was named after him, adding “brandy” to the name so it wouldn’t be confused with existing the gin-based cocktail “Alexander.”
Frozen Brandy Alexander Ingredients
For my frozen version of a Brandy Alexander, you’ll need a total of 5 ingredients:
- Vanilla ice cream
- Creme de cacao (white or dark)
- Ice chips (optional)
- Ground or grated nutmeg, for garnish
Type of Ice Cream to Use
Use the best quality vanilla ice cream you can find -it’s a key ingredient. I like Graeter’s Vanilla Bean (I find it in my Kroger grocery store), Haagen-Dazs and Breyers Natural Vanilla brands. Note that Breyers is a softer ice cream and will result in a smoother drink. For a milkshake texture, use a denser ice cream like Graeter’s or Haagan-Dazs.
Best Brandy to Use
Given the limited number of ingredients in this recipe, I think it’s important to use good quality ingredients. However, don’t go buy a top drawer brandy! I like the flavor of cognac (a type of brandy) in brandy alexanders. Select a nice, mid-priced cognac. A widely available, affordable French brand that works well in this recipe is St Remy. It technically isn’t a cognac because it’s from a different region in France, but it’s made by the same process, so it tastes similar.
How to Make a Brandy Alexander with Ice Cream
The only equipment you need to make these dessert cocktails is a blender, and here’s all you have to do:
- Process ingredients.
Place ice cream, brandy and creme de cacao in a blender and process until mixed.
- Add ice (if desired).
Add ice (if using) and process until smooth.
- Garnish and serve (or freeze).
Sprinkle top with ground nutmeg and serve immediately, or place in an airtight container and freeze (won’t freeze hard due to the alcohol).
“Yum yum! Made a batch last night for my husband’s birthday and they were a huge hit.”Carol f.
Frozen Brandy Alexander Variations
Put a personal spin on your Frozen Brandy Alexanders with one of these variations:
- Use chocolate or coffee ice cream instead of vanilla.
- Add a splash of vodka for a White Russian-inspired twist.
- Garnish with cocoa powder instead of (or in addition to) grated nutmeg.
How to Serve this Brandy Alexander Recipe with Ice Cream
I often serve these Frozen Brandy Alexanders as after-dinner drinks, either alongside or following dessert.
To elevate them from boozy milkshakes to sophisticated dessert cocktails, the right presentation is essential. Opting for martini or coupe glasses is a must-have for that timeless, elegant look and feel. The grated nutmeg garnish is another key element, adding a touch of color and texture. It’s a subtle yet impactful addition that elevates the overall presentation and experience.
And, if the texture of your Frozen Brandy Alexanders is more like a boozy milkshake, you may want to serve them with a small spoon or straw.
Storing this Brandy Alexander Recipe
Frozen Brandy Alexanders can be prepared up to 1 month ahead, packed into an airtight container and frozen. The mixture won’t freeze super hard due to the alcohol content. Let soften for a few minutes, then whirl in a blender until it reaches the desired consistency.
Other Cocktail Recipes to Try
- Homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
- Vodka Martini with a Twist
- Robert’s Perfect Manhattan
- Lime Blackberry Martini
- Cosmopolitan Drink
- 1/2 cup good quality vanilla ice cream
- 1 1/2 ounces brandy
- 3/4 ounce creme de cacao – white or dark (see Note below)
- 1/4 cup crushed ice (optional)
- Ground nutmeg, for garnish
- Place ice cream, brandy and creme de cacao in a blender and process until mixed.
- Add ice (if using) and process until smooth.
- Pour into an individual martini or coupe glass. Sprinkle top with ground nutmeg and serve immediately.
Note on Crème de Cacao: white crème de cacao will provide a lighter, more milk chocolate flavor, while regular will provide a richer, dark chocolate flavor.
Make ahead: Brandy Alexanders can be prepared up to 1 month ahead, packed into an airtight container and frozen. The mixture won’t freeze super hard due to the alcohol content. Let soften for a few minutes, then whirl in a blender until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Category: cocktails, dessert
- Method: blender
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 cocktail
- Calories: 414
- Sugar: 22.1 g
- Sodium: 68.4 mg
- Fat: 17.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 11.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 24.1 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Protein: 3.8 g
- Cholesterol: 98.4 mg
Brandy Alexander Recipe Ice Cream FAQs
A good frozen brandy Alexander will taste creamy, with hints of vanilla (from the ice cream), chocolate (from the creme de cacao) and subtle fruity undertones (from the brandy).
Brandy is a liquor (or distilled spirit) that can be made from wine or fermented fruit.
A traditional Brandy Alexander made with heavy whipping cream has around 270 calories per serving. This frozen version, that calls for ice cream instead of heavy cream, has 414 calories per serving.
Good substitutes for crème de cacao are a chocolate liqueur, Kahlua or Baileys. They will change the flavor profile of the drink a bit, but it will still be delicious.
Cognac is a type (or style) of brandy. Any spirit that’s made from distilled fruit is considered a brandy. Cognac is made specifically from white grapes and must be made in the Cognac region of France.