How to Make John Lennon’s Favorite Cocktail, the Brandy Alexander

The drink got Lennon and Harry Nilsson booted from the Troubadour club in Los Angeles in 1974

John Lennon in 1963
John Lennon from The Beatles posed behind the bar at the Wimbledon Palais in South London in 1963.

Brandy, as we all know thanks to the yacht rock tune by Looking Glass, is the name of a fine girl, but is also the core component of the cocktail that a guy who wrote some even better songs used to drink by the gallon.

The favorite drink of John Lennon, the Brandy Alexander is a frothy concoction that was also favored by singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. On a March night in 1974 at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles, Nilsson introduced Lennon to the chocolatey drink when he was separated from Yoko Ono. Impressed with the creamy concoction, Lennon exclaimed, “Wow, it’s like a milkshake.”

Taking comfort in the sweet, yet potent, drink, Lennon got quite hammered on his new top tipple and, along with Nilsson, began to heckle the act that was performing that night. “When the taunting got out of hand, security came in to remove the two troublemakers, and a scuffle ensued,” per VinePair. “Punches were reportedly thrown, and Lennon lost his signature circular spectacles in the brawl.”

Per one of the performers, who did say he got flowers and apologies from Lennon and Nilsson the day after they were tossed out of the Troubadour, the “ripped” hecklers were wearing tampons on their heads at one point and yelling things like “God fucks pigs.”

A year later, Lennon discussed the incident with host Bob Harris on the British TV show the Old Grey Whistle Test. “I got drunk and shouted,” he said. “It was my first night on Brandy Alexander. That’s brandy and milk, folks.”

Brandy Alexander cocktail, in a stock photo image
A typical example of a Brandy Alexander
bhofack2 / iStock / Getty

Via The New York Times, here’s Rosie Schaap‘s recipe for a Brandy Alexander. “It’s sweet, but not too sweet,” she writes. “It’s retro, but really timeless. Only the hardest cases could resist the charms of this creamy, frothy delight. That’s a dare.”

Sounds like Lennon certainly couldn’t.


  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. crème de cacao
  • 1 oz. heavy cream
  •  Nutmeg


  1. Shake brandy, crème de cacao and cream with ice.
  2. Strain into a coupe.
  3. Grate a little nutmeg on top.


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