The tradition of smoking a cigar with an after dinner drink or Digestif were once the norm, now, whether due to health concerns or something else the practice is in long term decline. Having never smoked, I don’t miss the cigar but after a memorable meal, having a special drink does sound good. So, what could you offer your guests this Christmas.
Brandy (Cognac and Armagnac) has long been the favourite. Such is the connection, that the fall in brandy sales is due to the decline in after dinner drinking. It’s traditionally drunk neat from a snifter, a balloon shape glass that allows you to warm the drink by cupping it with your hands. Don’t skimp on price and take time to savor it.
In the UK, taking port with dessert or after also has a long tradition. As with brandy, sales are declining which is a pity, it’s a fine drink. Late Bottled Vintage or LBV offer the best value for money. If you want something lighter, there are excellent white ports to try.
Malt Whisky is another favourite, not just north of the border. Malt whiskies are smoother in taste than their cheaper blended counterparts. For something gentler still on the palate, whisky based liqueurs.
For what is a specialist niche of the alcoholic beverage market, it amazes me how many different liqueurs are on the market. Picking an unusual one could make your day memorable, but try beforehand, there are some with let’s say, limited appeal!
Most fall into these categories (with only a few examples):
- Fruit; such as Grand Marnier and Cointreau (Orange), Amarula, Maraschino (Cherry) and Sloe Gin
- Cream; such as Baileys Irish Cream and Crème de cacao
- Herbs; such as Jägermeister and Chartreuse
- Nuts; such as Amaretto (Almonds)
- Whisky/Honey; such as Irish Mist and Drambuie