Yes, Owen Morris is the resident cocktail connoisseur of Fat City, but I knew he would let me pay homage to one of the most famous mixed drinks in the cocktail canon: the Brandy Alexander. Saturday is National Brandy Alexander Day and this concoction of brandy, creme de cacao, heavy cream (or sometimes ice cream) has been an inspirational beverage since it was first created in 1922.
Legend has it that the cocktail was created in London, for the wedding party of England's Princess Royal and Viscount Lascelles. But 1920s drama critic and wit Alexander Woolcott insisted the drink was named after him -- although there's no evidence to back up this claim. Woolcott loved to drink them, though.
The cocktail was featured in two movies as the lure that ultimately led to the "road to ruin" for two young women. In The Days of Wine and Roses, it's the drink that Jack Lemmon's character buys for a pretty girl (played by Lee Remick) who loves chocolate, but not the taste of alcohol. She becomes a drunk.
In 1958's Too Much, Too Soon -- based on the real-life memoirs of actress Diana Barrymore, the doomed aunt of Drew Barrymore -- teenage Diana, played by Dorothy Malone, visits her hard-drinking Daddy, John Barrymore. Real-life heavy drinker and Don Juan Erroll Flynn plays the adult Barrymore, who orders a Brandy Alexander for his little girl because it "tastes like a milkshake." Soon Diana has moved beyond the Brandy Alexanders to the real hard stuff and becomes an alcoholic. The movie has an upbeat ending, but in real life, Diana died young -- at age 38 in 1960.
John Lennon and Ringo Starr loved Brandy Alexanders and two bands, Feist and The Walkmen, wrote songs with the name of the cocktail as the title.