Not Your Grandma’s Brandy Drink (Or Is It?)

December 30, 2008


As usual, I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. I have a history of this: in the fifth grade, I was already dressing like a business woman. Blazers, and sometimes ties (it was 1989), were de rigueur. So, really, my eagerness to talk about New Years Day, before uttering even a peep about New Years Eve, really isn’t all that shocking. Like I said, I have a history—a shoulder-padded history.





In reality, I have been doing a lot of thinking about New Years Eve. We’ll be cooking and laying low because we have an early flight on New Years Day (New Orleans!). My initial idea for a New Years Eve menu came while we were at my parents’ house in Minnesota for Christmas.


The idea, actually, emerged from the blender, of all places. My step-dad, Ren, whizzed up a double (or, you know, it might have been a triple batch; my memory is a little hazy) batch of Brandy Alexanders. They were part dessert, part cocktail and completely delicious. (I should mention, too, that while they might look like an innocent milkshake, they are quite a boozy milkshake. My grandma had two (!) and proceeded directly to bed.)


As I drained my glass, I proclaimed that I had settled on a New Years Eve menu: a punch bowl full of frothy, creamy, boozy Brandy Alexanders, into which I would plunge two straws—one for me, one for Kevin. Throw in some noisemakers and we would have a par-tay.


In the end, I’m taking the menu in a more restrained direction. One that’s less prone to pounding headaches—of the brain freeze or morning-after variety. (Like I said: early morning flight). But I can’t wait to make these again soon. And, if you’re looking for a cocktail for your New Years soiree (one that can double as dessert, no less!), look no further. Happy New Year, everyone!

Brandy Alexanders
Recipe by Ren*

Printable Recipe

1 part Brandy
1 part Kahula, plus 1/2 teaspoon per drink for garnish
Vanilla ice cream (the chef prefers Breyers), to thickness
Whole nutmeg, to freshly grate for garnish

Mix equal parts brandy and Kahula and a conservative amount of vanilla ice cream in a blender. Add additional ice cream and blend until the mixture reaches the consistency of a milkshake. Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a 1/2 teaspoon Kahula and a dusting of freshly-grated nutmeg

* This recipe is a little loosey-goosey and for that I apologize. He’s a fantastic cook who rarely follows recipes, so it’s a miracle I got a recipe out of him at all.


13 Responses to “Not Your Grandma’s Brandy Drink (Or Is It?)”

  1. Monica h Says:

    We make something similar, but it has rum, brandy, and bourbon with melted vanilla ice cream and a pinch of nutmeg. Mr. H is making some right now!


  2. Can’t go wrong with Kahula! I also will laying low for an early flight (Orlando-not NOLA). I hope you go get a muffaltetta (sp??) at Central Grocery and cafe au lait at Cafe de Monde of course. Go explore Magazine Street. It was still very fun and quaint, even after Katrina.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Year!

    Hopefully I will find someone to have an early drink with tomorrow, since EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, is elsewhere :-/

  3. sue bette Says:

    Loving the cocktails, I’ll have to give these a try – what an awesome time to head down to New Orleans – get yourself a po’boy!

  4. Emily Says:

    Mmmm… These look pretty delightful, and it’s a mere 11:00 in the morning. Have a great trip!!

  5. Polly Says:

    YUM! I love any drink with nutmeg (probably because it usually means I’m lounging on a tropical beach with a rum concoction called a Painkiller). I can’t wait to whip up a batch. Have a great time in the Crescent City, what a fabulous way to kick off the new year!

  6. CT Says:

    Mmm, that sounds good.
    Don’t forget the beignets at Cafe du Monde, and if you have time, try Napoleon House (500 Chartres) for the muffaletta…better/less crowded than Central Grocery.
    Have fun!
    Happy New Year’s!

  7. Sohail Ahmed Says:

    wow… I was looking for the same from past one hour… thanks for the post, it’s really great.

    – Sohail

  8. Tails Says:

    This is great! 100x thanks from me! Oh and Happy New Year, of course! 🙂

  9. Dawn in CA Says:

    Oh my – brandy alexanders. Now that’s a drink I have not heard mentioned in a long while. Love these! They are dangerous, though… 😉

  10. These remind me of Dickie Brennan’s Brandy Milk Punch…check them out while you’re in NOLA!

  11. Monica: Mr. H sounds like a real catch! : )

    whitney: Hope you had a great trip!

    sue bette: We ate so, so well. What a city!

    Emily: Considering you were on break when you read that comment (I think, right?), I see nothing wrong with a boozy milkshake before noon.

    Polly: I agree, the nutmeg kicks it up a bit.

    CT: Beignets, yes! But, sadly, the olive aversion (which I have tried very hard to kick, believe you me) got in the way of muffalettas.

    Sohail Ahmed: Glad you found it!

    Tails: To you too!

    Dawn: Yes, dangerous, in deed.

    Andrea: We walked by Bourbon House a bunch but never made it in.

  12. Jonathan Says:

    ohhhhh… the second i saw that picture i said, “BRANDY ALEXANDER!!!”. we ordered one at this old-school puerto rican restaurant up the street. their drink list looked like it was written in 1948 with drink names i’d never heard of. let’s just say there ain’t nothing like downing a thick brandy alexander before tucking into a huge plate of mofongo! tummy ache ensued…

  13. cat Says:

    We always called these Mom’s Milkshakes and they were served after midnight on Christmas Eve. We’ve carried the tradition on with our now grown son. But it’s really supposed to have creme de cacao instead of Kaluha. And yes, they pack quite a punch.

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