5 Digestifs That Are Better Than Dessert

How to end your holiday meal on a high note.

‘Tis the season of parties and feasting... and one too many cookies and slices of cake. That's why some of our favorite holiday desserts are ones that can be sipped, not chewed. After all, what could be better than an after-dinner drink—sometimes sweet, sometimes refreshing—that settles your stomach and relaxes you? Whether you’re sitting down with the family or hosting an open house, these crowd-pleasing digestifs will keep everyone feeling warm and happy.


Chateau de Laubade VSOP Bas Armagnac

Photo by chateaudelaubade.com

Cognac’s cousin, Armagnac is a type of French brandy that’s aged in oak casks. This beautiful amber specimen, from one of the most famous Armagnac distilleries, tastes like dried figs and apricots. Perfect for pairing with spicy gingerbread cookies.

To buy: $44 for one 750ml bottle, klwines.com.


Krogstad Festlig Aquavit

Photo by housespirits.com

The Portland-based brewery uses a traditional Scandinavian recipe to make this crisp, caraway- and anise-infused vodka. Enjoy it chilled, sipped between courses or at the end of the meal as a palette cleanser.

To buy: $30 for one 750ml bottle, mouth.com.


Croft Pink Port

Photo by croftpink.com

This fruity rosé port is lighter than most red varieties, and reminded us of raspberries and almond paste. Luscious, bright, and appealingly pink, it's great on its own or as a companion to fresh fruit, tarts, and pies.

To buy: $20 for one 750ml bottle, valleyfinewines.com.


Marolo Milla Grappa

Photo by marolo.com

Don’t write off this Italian brandy: like tequila, low-end versions can taste like rubbing alcohol, but the high-quality ones are nuanced and delightful. This top-shelf pick is infused with chamomile flowers and tastes reminiscent of herbal tea and honey. The hand-blown glass bottle makes an elegant winter gift.

To buy: $50 for one 750ml bottle, drinkupny.com.


Amaro Nonino

Photo by grappanonino.it

Amaros are traditionally made from grape brandy infused with herbs, sweetened with sugar syrup, and aged. In this case, the brandy has been infused with a blend of rhubarb, saffron, tamarind, and caramelized sugar—which gives it a gently herbal profile and a reddish-amber color. Serve the bittersweet, faintly spicy drink over ice or in liqueur glasses, slightly chilled.

To buy: $50 for one 750ml bottle, liquorama.net.