There are many rumours about its origins. Some sources say it was created at the time of the London wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in 1922. Drama critic and Algonquin Round Table member Alexander Woollcott said it was named after him. Other sources say it was named after the Russian tsar Alexander II.
The drink was possibly named after Troy Alexander, a bartender at Rector's, a New York City restaurant, who created the drink in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow, a character in a popular advertising campaign in the early 20th century.
The cocktail is known to have been John Lennon's favorite drink. He was introduced to it on 12 March 1974, by Harry Nilsson, on Lennon's so-called "lost weekend". The pair began heckling the Smothers Brothers, and whilst being ejected Lennon allegedly assaulted a waitress. Lennon later said the drinks "tasted like milkshakes".