Because they’re most perfect for winter (hello, 27 degrees this morning!), because they’re freaking delicious and because I had a Groupon for some Ciao Bella burning a hole in my pocket — it’s Alexander Week over here at the Five O’Clock Cocktail Blog!

For those who don’t know, an Alexander is a genus of cocktail that employs a primary liquor, creme de cacao liqueur (white or dark) and light or heavy cream ICE CREAM!! Yes, damn it, here at the blog — unlike every cocktail recipe book you might come across — we do it with ice cream. With rare exceptions, drinking cream not-in-coffee doesn’t sit well with me. It’s like having chicken for breakfast. (I mean, I suppose I could, I just don’t ever want to.) It makes me picture those annoying cream thimbles you get at McDonald’s, and frankly, I can’t see why I’d ever want cream-cream when I could have ice cream instead.

Plus, the flavors! What flavors does cream come in? Sweet? A smidgen of imagination and a scoop of gelato result in some yummy Alexander combos, ones especially well-suited for cold weather. See, ice cream cocktails may sound like nothing but summer, but to me they conjure cozy sofas, living-room fireplaces, a book, a blanket — and a good draw of some belly-stoking fire water. When I think about summertime drinking, on the other hand, I want something akin to an astringent gin and tonic. (This cocktail from last week is pretty summerrific, actually.)

Kicking off Alexander Week is the most well-known Alexander, the Brandy Alexander. We’ll get to the original Alexander (you’ll likely be surprised what’s in it!) and others old-fashioned and newfangled later on in the week.

The Brandy Alexander

1 ¼ ounces Remy Martin VO

¾ ounces white creme de cacao

About 1 ¼ ounces Ciao Bella cinnamon gelato, plus a small scoop more for a float

Fresh nutmeg, for garnish

 

 

Pour brandy and creme de cacao into ice-filled cocktail shaker. Add 1 1/4 ounces of gelato. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Float a rounded spoonful of gelato in the middle of the glass. Grate fresh nutmeg on top.

Tasting Notes:

Don’t worry too much about measuring the size of your gelato scoops — although if you happen to have a melon baller on hand, definitely use that. (Go with the larger scoop, if yours is double-headed.)

Cinnamon gelato struck our fancy for pairing with brandy. What’s yours? Experiment!

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