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12 After-Dinner Drinks You Need to Know About

Want the perfect nightcap? These after-dinner drinks should be on your radar.

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Group of friends a toast to the cheers of cognac or brandyRuslan_127/Shutterstock

The recent craft cocktail movement has brought old-school drinks back into the spotlight. We’d like to recommend the return of an after-dinner drink, or a digestif, to help round out your evening.

Traditionally, a digestif is full of herbs, spices and other ingredients to help aid in digestion, but after-dinner drinks have evolved into spirits with a smooth sip and high alcohol content. These picks will help you end your dinner party on a high note!

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Sweet Port Dessert Wine ready to DrinkBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Port Wine

Port wine is an after-dinner drink that’s meant to be savored. It’s rich and complex, and can have layers of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch and fruit. Your glass of port can be sipped at room temperature, alone or alongside a complementary dark chocolate dessert.

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Glass of rum on a rustic wooden table with cigars and bottle.Kubisko/Shutterstock

Aged Rum

Sure, rum is best known for tiki-style cocktails. But there’s something about a dark, aged rum that is perfect at the end of a long day. Look for a style of dark rum that appeals to your palate, whether that’s spice or notes of bananas and coconut.

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Shot of Alcoholic Bitter Liquor on Wooden Surfacemrkornflakes/Shutterstock

Amaro

A bitter Italian liqueur, amaro is made from a variety of herbs, spices, flowers, roots, citrus peels and other ingredients thought to aid in digestion. This category can range from fernet, which is sharply bitter, to vermouth amaro with sweet citrus flavor. This liqueur is best when sipped neat, although ice or a splash of tonic water can be added.

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the man pours some brandy into a glass behind the barlenakorzh/Shutterstock

Brandy

Brandy, too, comes in a variety of different flavor profiles. From fresh, floral brandy to a stronger aged variety (think Cognac), this spirit is best served at room temperature in a brandy snifter. However, it can also be used as an ingredient in an after-dinner cocktail, such as a sidecar or a brandy old-fashioned.

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Niagara Icewine bottles on shelfChris Cramer Photography/Shutterstock

Ice Wine

Ice wine is made from grapes that are picked while frozen on the vine. This tactic produces a wine that’s balanced yet sweet, and has lots of different varietals to choose from, ensuring something for everyone. The wine should be served chilled, at about 50ºF. Here’s the right way to store it at home.

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Old and tasty cognac with ice and oak barrelShaiith/Shutterstock

Single Malt Scotch

This spirit can be served neat, with a splash of water or over ice. To be “single malt” scotch, the spirits must be made in Scotland at a single distillery. The benefit of a single malt is that it’s usually higher-quality, as the grains aren’t blended, and offers a smoother sip. The world’s best scotch is easier to get than you might think.

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Two glasses an a carafe filled with red sherry in a room with a lot of sunGunter Nuyts/Shutterstock

Sherry

While sherry is well-known as a cooking wine, it’s more than just an ingredient. It has a unique flavor that evolves during the time spent in a glass, so it gives a fresh taste at every sip. Serve in a sherry glass like this or as part of a sherry-based cocktail to create more nuance.

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Glass of sambuca , italian liqueur, with coffee beansluca pbl/Shutterstock

Sambuca

This Italian liqueur is enhanced with the flavor of anise and other essential oils and tastes similar to black licorice. The recommended serving for sambuca as a digestif is neat or with water. It is sometimes served with three coffee beans inside the glass, representing health, happiness and prosperity. Need more luck? Try these foods, too.

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Black Russian Cocktail with Vodka and Coffee Liquor.Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock

Kahlua

Coffee and dessert go together like peanut butter and jelly! This coffee-flavored liquor employs cinnamon, vanilla and caramel flavors for a bold sip. While a black Russian or another coffee cocktail may be top-of-mind, Kahlua is also good over ice or neat.

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Bottle of Jagermeistermonticello/Shutterstock

Jagermeister

Jagermeister is a digestif made with more than 50 herbs and spices and designed to ensure easy digestion. While it’s marketed to younger consumers (Jagerbomb, anyone?), the beverage is best suited for those who can understand and appreciate the layers of flavor in each sip. The licorice-flavored spirit can be enjoyed on the rocks or neat, but the company recommends it be served chilled.

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Glass of cocktail green fairy with lemon and absinthe at bar stand festive background.Andrei Mayatnik/Shutterstock

Chartreuse

A French-style digestif, chartreuse is made from more than 130 varieties of flowers, herbs and plants. With about 55% alcohol by volume, the adult beverage can leave one happy and relaxed with only a few sips. You can sip chartreuse either neat or on the rocks. If you had a few too many sips of chartreuse, try these hangover-busters in the morning.

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A shelf of Grand Marnier glass bottles, at CostcoDavid Tonelson/Shutterstock

Grand Marnier

An orange liqueur made from a blend of cognac, bitter orange and sugar, Grand Marnier can be equal parts refreshing and relieving. The mixed beverage is still 80 proof and is best consumed on the rocks or neat in a snifter like this one.

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