This sugar-free Brandy Alexander cocktail tastes heavenly, is easy to make, and it is sophisticated enough to impress your guests.
In John Lennon’s words (or so I’ve read) this dessert cocktail tastes like milkshake. I agree. And a sweet decadent chocolate boozy milkshake I can drink on keto? Yes, please.
The keto Brandy Alexander is a great alternative to winter holiday drinks, such as eggnog. Brandy Alexander has all of eggnog creaminess and winter holiday appeal, but none of the fussiness of eggnog preparation. Prepare for a sugar-free and low-carb chocolate party in your mouth!
The Brandy Alexander recipe is a staple for us since college years, when we used to imbibe great amounts of it. But it wasn’t as good, back then. We had no money for brandy, unless we bought the Presidente brand, a “Brazilian Cognac” literally made of cachaça and caramel color, that today costs $2 per liter. I’m not kidding, I just looked it up. Blessed be my liver!
If you are young, with “under developed” taste buds, and are making Brandy Alexanders to serve your degenerate colleagues in a college dorm party, you can go bottom shelf. While at it, instead of chocolate liqueur, you can double the alcohol and shake it with cocoa powder and sweetener or chocolate ice cream topping. But be warned: When you wake up the next day, you might regret your choices.
Brandy Alexander story
The Brandy Alexander cocktail was first created using gin instead of brandy – hence, this one is named Brandy Alexander, and not just Alexander. I have not tried the gin version yet… it doesn’t seem like an appetizing mix, although I love gin.
The fact that Brandy Alexander is the well known, ordered and served version of the cocktail throughout the world while rarely someone who is not a mixologist has ever heard of the original gin version speaks for itself.
Also, if you’ve ever seen someone asking for a chocolate martini when there was none in the cocktail menu… a Brandy Alexander is probably what they’ve got.
To make this delicious Brandy Alexander, you’ll need only five ingredients:
- Brandy, or Cognac
- Heavy whipping cream
- Sugar-free chocolate liqueur
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- And ice
Brandy vs Cognac, and are they keto?
Put simply, brandy and Cognac are exactly the same beverage: a distillate of fermented grapes. The difference is that only the brandy made in the France region of Cognac can be called Cognac. It’s the same with sparkling wine and Champagne. So, you can use either brandy or Cognac for your keto Brandy Alexander.
And yes, both are extremely low in carbs! All transparent (white) and brown spirits with no sugar added, such as vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila and brandy are keto friendly. The content of carbs will vary slightly, as darker spirits contain a little bit more of natural occurring sugars, but it’s still not near enough as fermented alcoholic beverages.
Use a sugar-free chocolate liqueur
The only non-keto ingredient in Brandy Alexanders is the crème de cacao or chocolate liqueur. I used to make my Brandy Alexanders with Mozart Chocolate Cream Liqueur or Mozart Black Liqueur, for a less sweet, dark chocolate taste. But using Mozart in this recipe is not a keto friendly option.
To make a proper keto Brandy Alexander, the chocolate liqueur used needs to be sugar-free. It’s easy to make your own: this is my recipe for sugar-free chocolate liqueur made with cacao nibs, vodka and sweetener. This is the chocolate liqueur I’m using now for my Brandy Alexanders, and the resulting keto cocktail is as delicious as the ones I used to make with Mozart, if not more: no sugar, no guilt = more pleasure.
Fresh nutmeg for best flavor
Freshly grated nutmeg is indispensable for perfect, heavenly Brandy Alexanders. Please, don’t use pre ground nutmeg powder! The keto Brandy Alexander will only get refreshing and spicy as it should when you grate the seed of a whole nutmeg, directly on top of the poured drink. The stuff is so powerful that you need less than a pinch.
The aroma of fresh ground nutmeg is much, much stronger than the one that you buy already powdered, as the oils that give nutmeg its pungent, nose clearing punch start losing their potency as soon as the nutmeg is ground.
How to rim cocktail glasses with cocoa powder
Because I’m an artist at heart and love the beauty and added playfulness of rimmed glasses, I added a totally unnecessary, non traditional step to this keto Brandy Alexander recipe: I rimmed the glasses with pure cocoa powder!
This is my suggestion to make your Brandy Alexanders stand out and look even more amazing on special occasions. Not to mention, more chocolate!
- Spread one to two tablespoons of pure cocoa powder in a saucer or small plate, larger than the rim of the glass.
- Wet the tips your thumb and index finger in the brandy or keto chocolate liqueur, and pinch the rim of the glass. With the other hand, turn the glass around until you covered the whole rim.
- Dip the rim of the cocktail glass into the cocoa powder to coat the wet border.
You’ll see that this is a simplified way of rimming a glass, because I don’t believe in pouring liquid in a dish and dunking the glass in it. Using your fingers, it’s easier to control the size and thickness you want the coated glass border to be, and to prevent the liquid to run down the sides of the glass and create a mess.
Mixing the Brandy Alexander cocktail
Add one part of good quality brandy, one part of heavy whipping cream and one part of sugar-free chocolate liqueur to a large cocktail shaker (a larger bottle makes the cream whip faster), a few cubes of ice, and shake it vigorously for a minute or so. The intention here is to near whip the cream, which makes for a thick, milk-shake like Brandy Alexander. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Finish with fresh ground nutmeg on top. Be careful, it’s dangerous 😉
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