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Happy Holidays! The next winter themed installment evokes the Christmas “spirit” both figuratively and literally. I’ve steered clear of the rich and decadent dessert cocktails synonymous with winter and the holidays for long enough. It’s time to bring on the heavy cream. Of course egg nog deserves a mention right now as well, but perhaps I’ll save that for next year. If you are dying to add an egg, or perhaps I should say “flipping” over it, try the Flipped Life cocktail I created for my blog’s one-year anniversary. For Christmas, and to pair with the “Mouse Kingdom”, a whimsical box by Japanese artist Kanae Saito which always reminds me of the Nutcracker story, I felt the classic Brandy Alexander would be in order. The Alexander was originally a gin drink, dating back to the turn of the twentieth century when it was likely created as part of a railroad add campaign by New York bartender Troy Alexander. It first appears in Hugo Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” (1915) as a combination of gin, crème de cacao and cream. The brandy version showed up later, with many possible references as to why and for whom it was changed. John Lennon famously enjoyed these “milkshakes” as well. I added a little sugar plum goodness to the mix as well for this version, which uses Jeff Morgenthaler’s equal proportions. Interestingly, sugar plums originally referred to comfits, or candy coated seeds, nuts or bits of spice such as anise, and had nothing at all to do with plums. Modern sugar plums are merely sugar hard candies. So when history leaves us wanting, we can rewrite it and add plum jam instead. The mouse won’t tell - just don’t wake the cat. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and good “cheers” to all.

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Sugar Plum Brandy Alexander

1 oz brandy
1 oz Crème de Cacao
1 oz heavy cream
1 barspoon plum jam

Shake together well over ice and strain into a favorite glass. Grate fresh nutmeg over top.


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For more about this cat and mouse game puzzle box see:

Boxes and Booze: Keys to the Kingdom