After Dinner Cocktails and Spirits

Because the drinking shouldn’t end when your meal does


If the terms “food coma” or “the -itis” have ever passed your lips after a heavily indulgent meal, then you can relate to the feelings I’m about to describe: you’re so full from the decadent spread that you may or may not have inhaled that you can’t bear to move in any direction, let alone get out of your chair. This feeling can be pretty horrendous, and for some of us, an antacid of sorts will do the trick. For the rest of us, drinks of the “fizzle fizzle” variety just don’t cut it.

Chances are you’re familiar with the “aperitif,” or “before dinner” drink. The point of this pre-meal beverage is to stimulate the appetite with the use of a dry alcohol, i.e. a glass of Champagne or vermouth. At the end of the meal, we are presented with the opposite of the aperitif, known as the digestif. Where before the meal, we drink to get ready to eat, after the meal we drink to aid digestion. Sweet or bitter liqueurs are most commonly consumed as digestives, so rounds of Brandy, Scotch or Fernet Branca are all great choices.

But why indulge in one more drink after dinner, you ask?

Brandy and Cigar image via Shutterstock
Besides the reason stated above, the spirits that are most commonly used as digestives are pretty fantastic, assuming you’ve gotten your hands on some quality post-dinner hooch. You may not think that a shot of Chartreuse will do anything for your over-stuffed gullet, but I guarantee after you try it, you’ll find the purchase of antacids from the pharmacy positively mundane. A few ounces of sweet and smoky Armagnac, or a chalky, chewable tablet? The choice is yours.

Traditionally, the after-dinner cordial is enjoyed straight up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix up a simple cocktail using a digestif for a little extra kick during digesting. We’re not talking several ingredients—this drink is meant to calm the stomach, not refill it—but if liquor served neat isn’t your style, there’s no reason you transformed our digestif into a full-fledged drink. Try your hand at a French Connection, a classic Old Fashioned or a Brandy Port. Paired with a fine cigar, your nightcap just got a whole lot more classy.

Now that you’re fully informed on what to drink after dinner, there’s only one thing to do: go do it! Prepare yourself a feast, and assist your belly in digestion with one (or all) of these delicious digestives. Boozing is supposed to be enjoyable, right? You just had an enjoyable meal, so you should enjoy one more drink as well. Cheers!

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  • Snooth User: Avrumeleh
    126600 1

    Well...Fernet can be considered one and it's one of the most famous, but other (probably more palatable) drinks within the catagory of Amaros shouldn't be disregarded...and most definitely should be tried. Ramazzotti and Averna are among the more available ones in the USA, but Italy produces a lot of them. Give one a try after dinner...neat or on ice...and stay with it to develop a taste that may be a little "different" but will become most delicious after a short time.

    Apr 09, 2013 at 3:04 PM

  • Snooth User: pop23
    1127651 38

    Working as a bartender I always gave staff a small shot of fernet if nauseous or hung over(same thing). They would get heady for a second and then totally fine. Then 'get the hell back to work'. There many believers. Too full, it works. I've developed an appreciation for its benefits and taste.

    Apr 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

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