Herein: The Boozy Solution to Holiday Gluttony

A brief but thorough guide to digestifs

By The Editors

Herein: The Boozy Solution to Holiday Gluttony
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30 December 2015

Behold, the perfect nightcap for holiday feasts present and future.

It’s centuries old. Slightly sweet. And steeped in an ancient alchemy of alcohol infused with herbs, spices and botanicals.

It’s not your grandpa’s Irish coffee. It’s … the digestif.

Digestifs are known to calm the system and aid the digestive process (hence name). Essentially, they’re spirits to lift your spirits while easing any lingering gastrointestinal woes. If only we knew exactly what was in ‘em.

Herewith: the six you should be acquainted with. Brief yourself and choose accordingly.


Barolo Chinato, from the verdant hills of Piedmont, is a fortified wine characteristically infused with quinine then blended with citrus and aged in oak. The potent recipe is a closely guarded secret to this day, but one that works regardless.

Italians know how to eat, and it it shows: beyond Chinato, hundreds of amari (bitters) exist to rescue you from the post-prandial abyss. There’s amaro from artichoke, amaro from walnut husk, amaro from black truffle … the list goes on.

Or, there’s absinthe. Not your granny’s absinthe. While the thujone in wormwood is (allegedly) psychoactive, the quinine in cinchona bark is strictly palliative. 

Mais non, the elixirs also come en francais: take Chartreuse, the liqueur infused with 100+ herbs and flowers that’s been made with blessings by Carthusian monks since the 1700s. 

Meanwhile, in Greece, the anise-flavored Ouzo works as both an aperitif and a digestif. Or any time between meals, really. Drink it cold over ice, or neat with a splash of water.

Flavor profile of your meal a little on the spicy side? Balance it out with a sweet grappa. A dash of it also works well with a post-meal espresso.

Enjoy your feasting.

Now, you won’t regret it.

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