It’s a great idea to expand your cocktail menu to include drinks after dinner. After a satisfying dinner, a good after-dinner cocktail is a great way to end the meal. To help you create your drink menu, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular digestifs.
What is an After-Dinner Drink?
Digestif is pronounced dee-jess-teef. It is an after-dinner drink, or an alcoholic beverage served to improve digestion. These drinks are usually served in small quantities in cordial glasses and are meant to be sipped. This digestif is great for soothing your stomach after a big meal or if you have overindulged.
Different types of digestive
What makes a digestif good? A digestif can be any drink, provided you enjoy it. However, it is designed to aid digestion. After-dinner drinks tend to have high alcohol content (ABV), creating a full-bodied taste that should be enjoyed slowly or a trace of bitterness for some. There are many types of digestive available, and most will fall within one of these categories.
- Aged Spirits: Aged spirits such as brandy and scotch can be enjoyed neat after a meal for a relaxing drink.
- Fortified Wines: Fortified wines, which contain a spirit distilled wine, are a popular choice for digestifs.
- Cordials or Liqueurs: These herbal liqueurs are soothing after-dinner remedies.
- Digestif Cocktails: A classic cocktail such as the Old Fashioned is a great choice for a nightcap.
Digestif alcohol reduces hunger after eating a large meal. This allows guests to chat and relax more before ending the night. Operators will increase alcohol sales per table by adding after-dinner drinks. This encourages guests to order more dishes, such as desserts or cheese platters. Here are some popular choices for post-dinner drinks:
Brandy has long been used after-dinner drink. This warming spirit was first made for medicinal purposes. French doctors called brandy “water of life” “eau de vie”. It was used to anesthetize, anesthetic, and then digest to soothe the stomach.
Brandy is loved for its complex flavors and warming effects from its high alcohol content. Brandy is not like other after-dinner alcohols. It doesn’t contain any herbs or spices that can soothe the stomach. Brandy relaxes the stomach lining and calms the drinker. It is also used as a sleeping aid.
How does brandy taste?
Brandy retains the flavor of the fruit used for distillation. This could be apples, grapes, or cherries. It is rich in warmth and subtle sweetness. Brandy will take on the aromas of oak and spice after barrel-aging.
Brandy vs. Cognac
Cognac is a brandy type that must be made in Southwest France’s Cognac region. Brandy production must follow strict guidelines to be classified as Cognac, just like other cheeses identified using geographical indications.
- Best glass for brandy – Brandy sniffer
- Brandy Serving Temperature: Room temperature
- Brandy Alcohol Percentage: 35% to 60 % ABV
Chartreuse is the name of a French herbal liqueur made by monks from the Grande Chartreuse monastery. Chartreuse’s striking green color is the first thing you will notice. It comes from a secret recipe that contains 130 herbs and spices. This powerful liqueur, like many digestifs, was originally made as a medicinal tonic. It was so popular that monks modified their recipe to make it drinkable.
How does Chartreuse taste?
Two types of Chartreuse are produced by Carthusian monks: green and yellow. Green Chartreuse is more pungent and has peppery, minty, or herbaceous flavors. Yellow Chartreuse has floral, sweet, and spicy notes.
- Best glass for Chartreuse: Cordial or Liquid Glass with Flared Rim
- Chartreuse Serving Temperature: Best served on ice or chilled to 52 or 53 degrees Fahrenheit
- Chartreuse Alcohol Percentage: Green Chartreuse 55% ABV, Yellow Chartreuse 40 ABV
Sherry is an aged-fashioned fortified wine. But there are many more secrets to this after-dinner drink. Sherry is loved in Spain and enjoys tapas during “sherry hours”. Sherry is enjoying a resurgence in America and is gaining much-deserved appreciation.
The “sherry triangle”, where authentic Spanish sherry is produced, starts as a wine made from white grapes. Foraging, the wine is fortified by adding more alcohol.
What does sherry taste like?
It is a common misconception that all sherry wines are sweet and syrupy. However, each sherry wine has its unique flavor. Manzanilla sherry and Fino sherry are both dry and salty, and savory. Pedro Ximenez (or PX) sweet and cream sherry are rich in dried fruits, spices, and chocolate. Amontillado sherry is one of the most complexes. It develops refined flavors of oak and tobacco as it ages.
- Best Sherry Glass – Sherry glasses
- Sherry Serving Temperature: Fino and Manzanillo should cool to 44 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit. Other varieties can be chilled to 50 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sherry Alcohol Percentage: 16% to 20% ABV
Amaro is an Italian herbal liqueur. It is often enjoyed after dinner or as a digestif. There are many brands of Amari, the plural form of Amaro, each with a different recipe. Amari can be found in Campari, Aperol and Cynar.
All brands of Amari share a bitter-sweet taste derived from botanical ingredients such as herbs, flowers, bark, and other plants. Italian for “bitter”, the term Amaro means “bitter”. Amari is not confused with cocktail bitters, which are used as flavorings in mixed drinks. They are best enjoyed on their own or sipped slowly after a meal.
What does Amaro taste like?
Amari is bitter-sweet and herbaceous. Some Amari is sweet and citrusy, while others are bitter-sweet and herbaceous. Others are smokey with caramel notes or licorice. Cynar, a brand of Amaro, gets its flavor from Italian Artichokes. Fernet-Branca is dominated by menthol. There are many Amari brands, each with a unique flavor.
- Best Glass for Amaro – Cordial or liqueur glass
- Amaro Serving Temperature: Serve chilled or at room temperature over Amaro
- Amaro Alcohol Percentage: 16% to 35% ABV