Holiday spirits: before, during and after

12.19.17 By

Sure, you’ve probably given quite a bit of thought about the wine you’ll serve with a holiday meal.

But what about before and after-dinner drinks?

Believe it or not, these spirits – known formally as the apéritif and the digestif – can play a big role in the overall enjoyment of your feast.


An apéritif (from the French for “to open”), the drink you have prior to sitting down to a meal, should whet your appetite. But not just any drink will do the job.

Your apéritif should have a dry, bitter profile. Anything overly sugary will actually decrease your appetite. Good apéritif cocktails can include spirits such as gin, pastis, champagne, vermouth, Campari, dry sherry or even Scotch.

Another pointer for a good apéritif: Don’t make it too strong. If you have an excessive amount of alcohol in your system, you won’t be primed for dinner.

The point of an apéritif is to get your system ready to eat, so use a light hand when mixing up a martini, Negroni or gimlet for your guests to enjoy before dinner.


This drink is served at the conclusion of the meal and is thought to aid in digestion. In a perfect setting, the digestif is enjoyed away from the dining table, and you sip it slowly, savoring each swallow. (This is also a great time to enjoy a cigar, if that’s your thing.)

A digestif is usually served straight and in a small amount; that’s not to say a fizz, flip or even a milk punch is completely out of the question.

Unlike apéritifs, digestifs are stronger and more flavorful. They can incorporate spices, herbs and bitterness, as well as sweetness which helps to end the meal. For some, a digestif replaces dessert altogether. Just remember to keep portions measured. Too much can leave you with that overly full feeling.

Digestif examples include:

  • Calvodos
  • Cognac
  • Aquavit
  • Port
  • Sambuca
  • Limoncello
  • Eau de vie

If you need some help selecting the best spirit for your holiday apéritifs and digestifs, Acquistapace’s is ready to help make your holiday meals tasty and memorable.


Comments are closed here.