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The Best After-Dinner Cocktails and Spirits

The Best After-Dinner Cocktails and Spirits

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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?

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 classier.

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!

— Sara Kay, The

The Best Aperol Cocktails to Sip Al Fresco

These bright, punchy cocktails are just what you need to toast the warm weather.

Since its debut at the 1919 Padua International Fair, the Italian aperitif Aperol has pretty much single handedly turned the spritz into an international drinking tradition. And since the bittersweet drink&mdashmade with citrus oil and a secret recipe of herbs and roots&mdashis celebrating its 100th birthday this year, now is the perfect time to embrace its palate-refreshing, cocktail-brightening, sip summer-ifying powers. From the cocktail that started it all, the original Aperol Spritz, to negronis, paper planes, and more, these are the recipes you'll want to keep in rotation all season long.


Equal parts Aperol
Equal parts Cinzano Prosecco
Splash of Soda


Mix all ingredients in a wine glass with ice and gently stir. Garnish with an orange slice.


2 oz Brockmans Gin
1 oz Antica Formula
1 oz Aperol
Dehydrated orange for garnish


Muddle 4 raspberries in a shaker and add ice cubes with all the other ingredients. Shake until chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass over an ice ball. Garnish with a slice of dehydrated orange.


1.5 oz Tanqueray no. Ten gin
.5 oz Aperol
.5 oz Grapefruit
.5 oz Lime


Stir ingredients over ice strain into champagne flute

By John Walter from Outlier in Seattle.


1.5 oz Banks 5 Rum
.5 oz Aperol
.75 oz watermelon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz lemon juice


Combine all ingredients in a wine glass with ice and stir. Top with sparkling water and garnish with mint leaves.

By Kenneth McCoy, Chief Creative Officer of Public House Collective for The Rum House


1.5 oz Playa Real Mandarin
.5 oz Agave syrup
.75 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
.5 oz Aperol
Garnish with a lime wedge


Combine, shake well and pour into a double rocks glass with one extra-large ice cube. Garnish with a lime wedge.


2.5 oz Bourbon
.75 oz Aperol
1 tsp simple syrup


Combine in a mixing glass with ice and stir 10-15 seconds. Strain into chilled rocks glass over a large whiskey ice block. Garnish with grapefruit zest.


.75 oz Trail&rsquos End Whiskey
.74 oz Aperol
.75 oz Meletti amaro
.75 oz lemon juice


Combine all ingredients into shaker. Shake with ice and double strain into glass.


2 oz Knappogue Castle 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey
.75 oz Lillet Rosé
.5 oz Aperol
2 slices cucumber
1 pinch Kosher salt


Muddle cucumber slices into a mixing glass. Add ice and all other ingredients. Stir and double strain into a coupe. Garnish with cucumber ribbon.

By Joaquín Simó of Pouring Ribbons


.5 oz strawberry shrub*
1 oz Aperol
3 oz rosé wine
1 oz seltzer, to taste


Build all ingredients except for seltzer in and ice-filled wine glass. Stir to combine and garnish with 4 strawberry slices

*Strawberry shrub: Wash 10 strawberries, remove tops and cut in quarters. Let sit in 2 cups of sugar overnight, then add 2 cups raspberry vinegar and stir to dissolve sugar. Put over heat in a sauce pan until boiling then immediately remove. Let cool, strain out berries and bottle liquid.

By Meaghan Dorman of Dear Irving on Hudson


.5 oz Aperol
.5 oz Mr Black
.5 oz Ancho Reyes
Dash Cardamom bitters


Build all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.


2 oz. Buffalo Trace
.5 oz rosemary-infused Aperol*
.5 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth


Stir ingredients over ice serve up. Garnish with rosemary sprig and lemon zest.

*Rosemary-infused Aperol: Place three stalks of fresh rosemary, approximately 10&rdquo long, into one 750 ml bottle of Aperol let infuse at room temperature for three days.

By Benjamin Harris & Travis Sanders from Pennyroyal in Seattle.


1 oz Ketel Botanical Grapefruit Rose Vodka
1 dash Ramazzotti Rosato
.75 oz LoFi Dry Vermouth
.5 oz St. Germain
1 oz Vlado Prosecco
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup
1 dash Hopped Grapefruit Bitter
Top with Club Soda


Add all ingredients except club soda to a glass with ice. Stir well and top with club soda.


.75 oz Flor de Caña 7
.75 oz Aperol
.75 oz fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz Amaro Nonino


Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a coupe glass or a rocks over a large format ice cube. Garnish with a small origami paper plane.


1.5 oz Hudson Baby Bourbon
1 oz Aperol aperitif
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz honey syrup
Half-dropper of Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters


Add all ingredients to shaker with ice, and shake to chill. Strain over rocks or top with club soda. For a fizz format, shake with 1 egg white or .75 oz aquafaba.

The Best After-Dinner Cocktails for Thanksgiving Day

Somewhere in between carving the turkey and going into a coma on the couch to watch football, drinking a cocktail may be in order on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t entertain your uncle’s idea of a Jose Cuervo Margarita. Head to the bar cart and make yourself something festive. Not pumpkin spice egg nog festive, but an after dinner drink that feels of the season. Here are 13 cocktails for the occasion.

If you’re like one of the millions of Americans who have a heaping meal on Thanksgiving, you may be feeling it in your stomach after dinner. Midnight Rambler‘s Christy Pope has a drink to soothe your ailing body, something she calls “an apple dessert drink is perfect for settling the stomach and initiating a nap.”

1/2 baked apple with fresh nutmeg

The Wild Dude Cocktail at Copper Lounge.

Inspired by The Big Lebowski, The Wild Dude is from Scott Allen, bar manager of Copper Lounge at InterContinental Los Angeles Century City. “It’s a bourbon-based coffee drink, made with a delicious combination of Frangelico (a hazelnut liqueur) and Kahlua – giving this digestif cocktail its great coffee flavor,” he says of the take on a White Russian. “This version uses Wild Turkey as the base spirit, thus ‘The Wild Dude’ dude is born.”

Garnish with coffee beans

When fall and winter roll around, Joseph Lapi of RPM Steak in Chicago turns his mind from vodka and gin to whiskey. “A great whiskey cocktail gives a certain comfort that only a full belly of stuffing can provide,” says Lapi. “This recipe has a easy black tea infusion (about 2 tsp per 750ml of whiskey, steep for 1 hour) which adds a very soothing and comforting aromatic (I use Litchi Noir which is black tea scented with fresh crushed litchi fruit). Tag team that in with demerara syrup for a touch of sweetness and cardamom bitters for some spice and it will have you sitting, listening to your uncle’s jokes all night long.”

2 oz Black tea infused Nikka Coffey Malt whiskey (Litchi Noir)

.25 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Stir over ice. Strain over a large rock with a star anise.

Smooth Operator at W Scottsdale.

“After a big Thanksgiving meal, you need something to cut through that Tryptophan turkey haze,” says David Cronin, General Manager of W Scottsdale in Arizona. “Our Smooth Operator cocktail includes figs, honey and lemon, which are all natural indigestion remedies. The Creole Bitters in this recipe gives strong notes of anise and pine to settle the stomach and give a zing of aromatic energy.”

Muddle figs, honey and lemon in a mixing glass. Add bourbon and shake with ice. Strain, remove ice, add back into mixing tin and top with egg white. Shake again (without ice) and pour over ice. Garnish with a dash of Creole Bitters, a cherry and orange zest.

“Here in the north, Thanksgiving may as well already be winter,” says Ambrose Burke of Eastside in Minneapolis. “So after turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, this cocktail will settle the stomach and warm the soul with flavors of golden raisin, honey, apple, and a touch of smoke and licorice from a singed star anise pod.”

1 dash bittercube trinity bitters

.5 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry

Stir and strain into neat pour glass. Garnish with a star anise pod that’s been singed by flame.

After the Fall at Severance.

Evan Charest of Severance in Los Angeles, described by some as the Willy Wonka of the wine and low ABV cocktail experience, has a Pommeau-based digestif that you’ll want to drink straight through to the new year. “It has a very light and bright quality that is perfect after a big meal,” says Charest. “Pommeau is made by mixing Calvados and freshly made apple juice which gives the cocktail a nice balance without the palate fatigue of many post dinner cocktails.”

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir and strain over large ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Old Fashioned at the Spaniard.

New York Old Fashioned

Mikey McFerran, bar director of The Spaniard in New York is responsible for this cross between a bourbon Old Fashioned and a brandy Wisconsin Old Fashioned. “It’s the best of both worlds.,” says McFerran. “Brandy is a very wintry drink—I always imagine drinking it by a fire —so this cocktail is perfect for sipping by a fireplace, whether real or fantasy. It gives you that warmth, even if you’re just sitting in the glow of the old yule log video looping on your TV in the background.”

1 oz Bertoux California Brandy

In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle sugar cube, one cherry and orange wheel. Add brandy, bourbon and bitters, and stir to combine. Add crushed ice and garnish with a cherry.

Coffee-infused Boulevardier

This cocktail is straightforward and caffeinated. “Coffee is obviously a crowd-pleaser after a big meal and dessert, but after a Thanksgiving meal, folks might like a little something more,” says Andrew Hannigan of Bastion in Nashville. “Campari and vermouth have digestive qualities that are delicious and perfect to settle the stomach.”

1oz Coffee-Infused Wild Turkey 101 Rye (Freshly Ground Crema Coffee)

1oz Carpano Antica Vermouth

A Take on the Boulevardier from 71Above.

A Take on the Boulevardier

In Downtown LA, Kate Victoria at 71Above knows the pain in the pleasure of Thanksgiving. “What happens when the pumpkin pie comes out and you reach the point of no return? You need the perfect cocktail to settle your stomach and your anxiety caused by spending countless hours with your family. The Boulevardier,” she says. “Classically made with equal parts bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth, I like to add Amaro Montenegro digestif as well as a dash of All Spice bitters, stirred, to make you feel all warm and cozy for the rest of the night.”

2 dashes All Spice bitters

0.75oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth

Stirred and strained, served in a coupe glass. Garnish with a dehydrated orange slice.

Angeleno Nightcap at Genever.

“The Rutte Genever gives a great foundation and body to the cocktail,” Darwin Manahan at Genever says of the Angeleno Nightcap. “The Carpano Bianco adds body while the Amaro Angeleno brings a nice bitter finish. This is not only a great palate cleanser but it is also a great cocktail to help settle the turkey aftermath.”

Stir and serve in a Nick and Norah glass.

Brown Eyed Earl.

The Brown Eyed Earl from Lindsay Barker at Momed is the pick me up you need when you’re about to start snoring in a Lazy Boy. “The Earl Grey in the Scotch provides just enough caffeine to battle the tryptophan of a big Turkey meal to keep you awake long enough to enjoy some dessert,” Barker says.

2 oz earl grey infused scotch

2 dash green bar orange bitters

2 dash chocolate walnut bitters

Stir and serve in a glass with an Arrack rinse.

An amaro daiquiri of sorts, the Modus Operandi is a cocktail by Matt Tocco of The Patterson House in Nashville that’s tart, sweet, bitter, and spiced—exactly what you need after the decadence of a Thanksgiving feast. “I make it for anyone asks for dealers choice,” says Patterson House’s Harrison Peaks.

Banana Split Martini

While you have banana liqueur in the bar, mix up a banana split martini. This vodka martini pairs the banana-flavored spirit with crème de cacao. The real fun comes when you dress it up as you would any banana split. Try a strawberry vodka, add a caramel or chocolate drizzle, or pile on the whipped cream. There are no rules here!

Bring Back Cognac, the King of After-Dinner Drinks

Make 2020 the year you get a little too into Sidecars.

Odds are, if you’re a drinker, you enjoy a stiff pour of something dark and neat now and again. Especially after dinner, and especially during winter. Not to paint too vivid a picture, but the kind of drink you savor by the roaring fireplace in a worn leather chair under a taxidermied head of some sort, if you’re into that sort of thing.

A good bourbon or Scotch is hardy and fortifying, a glass you want to linger over. Increasingly we’re starting to appreciate dark rum and aged tequilas as worthy sipping spirits, too.

And yet somehow, in 2019, Cognac is rarely mentioned in the same breath. The king of all after-dinner drinks is due for a comeback. If you’re a fan of dark spirits, you owe it to yourself to get to know Cognac.

If you like the vanilla and caramel notes of bourbon, you’ll love the gentle sweetness of Cognac. If you appreciate the subtlety and refinement of Scotch, you’ll find them, albeit in a different guise, in Cognac. If the subtle agricultural nuance of a༞jo tequila appeals? Cognac has that, too.

Like all dark spirits, Cognac spends time in a barrel. But whereas whiskeys are made from grain, Cognac is a brandy. (Brandy, in the broadest sense, is any spirit distilled from fruit.) To create Cognac, grapes from a geographically protected region of Southwestern France are fermented into wine. It’s then distilled twice, to create what’s known as an eau-de-vie, or “water of life,” the poetic French term for an unaged brandy. Cognac territory is divided into six distinct appellations of these, Grande Champagne and Petit Champagne are most highly prized, due to the chalkiness of their soil and the fruity, floral aromas that result from it.

Most Cognac houses, as producers are known, source externally, buying already-distilled eaux-de-vie the art, so goes tradition, is in the aging and blending. But these houses tend to work with the same growers and distillers over years—if not generations.

Cognac houses bring together these eaux-de-vie and lay them to rest in oak barrels, where they might spend anywhere from years to decades. There are government-mandated distinctions for the classification of Cognac𠅊ll brandies use in the blend of a V.S. (“Very Special’) must be at least two years old V.S.O.P. (“Very Superior Old Pale”), at least four XO, ten. But that’s a minimum age. Rémy Martin V.S.O.P., for instance, blends 200 eaux-de-vie, includes brandies with up to 12 years on oak.

A long-aged Cognac is likely to be among the oldest things you’ll ever drink. A bourbon on the older end spends, say, 10-12 years in the barrel. An older rum, less time. It’s rare, if not unheard of, to see a Scotch much older than 18 years. Cognac? Sky’s the limit. Rémy’s XO blends eaux-de-vie up to 37 years of age, averaging 25 years. Dudognon’s line of “Heritage” Cognacs have a minimum of 40 years.

Of course, that’s not what you’ll find in a standard-issue bottle. But what you will find in virtually any good Cognac is an initial burst of fruit, due to its grape base a round, supple smoothness, as wood transforms the brandy and true nuance, thanks to the careful art of blending the refined spirit.

Why hasn’t Cognac really caught on with a generation so well-versed in craft spirits? Perhaps it’s that the name Cognac smacks of luxury, even inaccessibility. Perhaps it’s that brandy sipping was a habit of generations past. And while whiskey’s astronomic rise in popularity is largely connected to the emergence of the craft cocktail world—once we get hooked on Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, an interest in American whiskey isn’t far behind𠅌ognac hasn’t had a breakout cocktail in quite the same way. (We’re still waiting for the year of the Sidecar.)

These brandies are pricey, to be sure, but no more so than other high-end spirits. The time Cognac spends in a barrel inevitably entails a higher price tag. But if you spend $40 on Woodford Reserve or Basil Hayden’s, or $70 on Macallan 12 or Oban 14, Cognac isn’t necessarily a stretch. Especially when you’re thinking about holiday gifts. When better to splurge a little?

While Cognac is all about tradition, producers are still innovating, increasingly introducing bottles that pride themselves on a particular style rather than abiding by the classic age statements. Ferrand, among the most esteemed Cognac houses, honors their history with the recently released Ferrand 10 Generations Cognac ($60). Made exclusively from the Ugni Blanc grape, it starts out fresh and fruity, but ends with a distinct spice, almost in the manner of a rye this is a whiskey-lover’s brandy, but with the fruit-tinged delicacy we love from Cognac.

In creating Rémy Martin Tercet ($110), launched earlier this year, cellar master Baptiste Loiseau identified eaux-de-vie from one of Rémy’s partner vineyards that were particularly fruit-forward. He worked in collaboration with one of Rémy’s longtime wine masters and one of the house’s master distillers to shape their newest brandy from grape to bottle. As a finished Cognac, it’s bold on the palate with fruit and spice, bright and vivid throughout, a bit higher-proof than Rémy’s standard line. This is one to sip slowly and savor on its own merits. (Try serving it on ice, in a wine glass.)

And if you’re looking to explore the world of Cognac cocktails? Pick up a bottle of H by Hine ($40). Moderately priced and nicely balanced, it’s developed for bartenders, and hits every note we love from a good Cognac𠅏resh and fruity initially, bold and rounded on the palate. A perfect entry-level sipper, but it really shines in a classic cocktail. Pick up a bottle, along with a bottle of quality orange liqueur, and embrace the Sidecar as your drink of the holiday season.

Earlier this week we brought you our recommendations for pre-dinner cocktails. Today, it’s the turn of the post-dinner cocktail. When dinner is finished, you want to be able to move away from the table and continue the party. Creating a batch of after-dinner cocktails is the perfect way to show your guests how welcome they are and ensure the fun doesn’t stop.

Read on to find out what we’re recommending to finish off an evening in style.

1. Espresso Martini

Instead of serving coffee after dinner, serve up a coffee cocktail. Your guests are sure to love them and they’re a great pick-me-up if you’re playing after dinner games.

Shake 1 part coffee, 1 part coffee liqueur and 2 parts vodka over ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with a coffee bean.

2. Mint Chocolate Martini

After dinner chocolates are nothing compared to this quick and easy cocktail. Pair the classic chocolate and mint flavours for a sweet treat.

Simply shake 1 part vodka, 1 part creme de menthe and 2 parts chocolate liqueur over ice. Strain into a martini glass.

3. A Grasshopper

Another cocktail that goes for a hint of mint after dinner. You could even replace dessert with this sweet drink.

Shake 1 part creme de cacao, 1 part creme de menthe and 1 part fresh cream over ice. Strain into a martini glass.

4. Irish Coffee

An espresso martini isn’t always ideal for a cold night. Warm up your guests by making an Irish coffee instead.

Make your coffee how you like it and then add Irish whiskey, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a little cream. Serve this in mugs so that guests can warm themselves up.

5. Porto Flip

This cocktail certainly isn’t for everyone. This is for the more adventurous guest. Port is a traditional after dinner drink but this gives it a twist.

Shake 1 ounce brandy, 1.5 ounces port, 0.5 ounce simple syrup and a whole egg together. Strain it into a highball glass and grate a little nutmeg over the top. Challenge your guests to guess what’s in the drink!

6. A glass of something simple on the rocks

This isn’t a cocktail, but it might be one of the best options after dinner. If you don’t want to be distracted by shaking up drinks and you just want to settle into an evening of easy conversation, then decant some high-quality liquors and serve them up with plenty of ice and glasses.

A glass of great whiskey is sure to please, but you can also serve brandy, port or dessert wine. You could even create a platter with our scotch collection of cheeses.

We hope you have enjoyed our post-dinner cocktail ideas. What do you like to serve and drink after dinner? Let us know in the comments!

6 After-Dinner Drinks That Will Trick Your Guests Into Thinking You're Classy

Those bottles of amaro you're seeing behind the bar more and more—with their beautiful Italian labels featuring beautiful Italian scenes representing the beautiful Italian liqueur inside—aren't just for sipping. They're for drinking. Amari—Italian for “bitters”—are indeed bitter. But also sweet, smoky, and citrusy, too. They're as versatile as whiskey and maybe even more complex.

“There's nothing missing,” says bartender Sother Teague, who opened his bitters bar, Amor y Amargo, in Manhattan's East Village in 2011. “These are old-fashioneds in a bottle.”

Here are three ways to drink three amari that you can now find in any good liquor store—and, increasingly, on any good dessert menu, where amaro is replacing port as the go-to digestivo. We've also included a few non-amaro, after-dinner drinks to add to your bar cart, partially because they look extremely cool, and partially because a bunch of other European countries make their own top-shelf bitters.

Nonino ($45) is as sweet and drinkable as amaro gets—very light on bitter herbs. (Though at 70 proof, it's heavy on alcohol for an amaro.) Drink it neat after a few too many agnolotti.

Now widely available in the States after 25 years of scarcity, the piney and intense Braulio ($43) is best over ice with an orange wedge.

Meletti ($17) is said to be made with the kola nut, the same stuff that gives cola its flavor. Lots of spice and vanilla. Drink it as Teague suggests: 50–50 with seltzer to create the best “Coke” you've ever had. “A frosty glass of that and a couple ice cubes? You could crush it all day.”

Bigallet China-China ($43) is the drink you want to set down on the table toward the end of your dinner party. It’s got it all: A fun name (it’s pronounced keena-keena). Label art featuring a woodcut of a French village (traditional! historic!). And no one at your party will have tried it even though it has pretty good distribution in the States. And the flavor? Imagine taking a wad of orange peels, rubbing it in cinnamon, then dunking it in… I don’t know… raisin juice? And then chewing on it. Only it tastes better, and far more complex, than what you’re imagining.

Underberg bitters ($22 for a crate of twelve), in little paper-wrapped glass vessels the size of airplane bottles, can be hard to find. You’ll occasionally see them at the point-of-purchase at some liquor stores. My old grocery store in Manhattan used to stock them in what seemed vaguely like a “mixer” section. And they’re showing up at interesting Brooklyn bars, according to those GQ staffers who drink in interesting Brooklyn bars more frequently than me. If you see some, buy some. (Or just head to your local neighborhood Amazon page.) It’s anise-y, floral, and almost wince-ingly bitter. But the tiny bottle makes drinking Unerberg seem so…fun. Especially when you use a straw.

The best spirits for making cocktails, according to one of the top bartenders in the world

To bartend at one of the best bars in the world, it requires an immense amount of creativity and expertise in creating one-of-a-kind flavour profiles - especially when the cocktail menu is ever-changing.

And while all spirits are incorporated into unique cocktails at The Dead Rabbit, located in downtown New York City and previously named the best bar in the world, there are two that the bar’s beverage director Jillian Vose named as her favourites when it comes to creating new drinks.

Speaking to The Independent, Vose said: “When building a menu we try and check all the boxes on spirits and styles of drinks,” but if she had to choose, it would be a “mean tie between Irish whiskey and Calvados,” an apple or pear brandy from the Normandy region in France.

On the bar’s current menu, Irish whiskey features in the Speed Demon, a cocktail made of cider cask Irish whiskey, dessert wine, becherovka, verjus, dried apricot and pimento bitters and in the Witch Hunt, a drink featuring Irish whiskey, IPA beer, pineapple, yellow chartreuse, banana, cinnamon, and peach bitters.

Calvados appears in the House of Ill Repute, a drink made of the brandy, aged Dutch Genever, aged Cachaça, apricot, barley, oat milk, and lemon.


As for where Vose draws inspiration from when designing a new menu, she told us that it comes from “many things” such as cookbooks to farmers markets.

“When we are working on a new menu, I’ll usually pick up some new books on cooking, flavour pairings and cocktails,” she said.

“I’ll usually scroll through old cocktail books and notebooks for inspiration, I’ll go to spice shows, farmers markets and grocery stores to see what catches my eye and what’s in season.”

The result is an Irish pub turned cocktail bar that has frequently been named the best.

When it comes to the ingredients she keeps stocked at her own bar at home, Vose told us her preferences are slightly more typical - comprised of just cane sugar and a “375mL bottle of dry vermouth.”

“If I’m making drinks at home, it’s either a martini or a daiquiri so that does it for me,” she said.

The bar recently expanded its location at 30 Water Street to be able to fit more people, after realising that the tight quarters of its former space required a strict door policy which “goes against the Irish pub policy,” according to The Dead Rabbit co-founder Jack McGarry, who told The Independent: “The expansion brings the Irish bar into the 21st century.

And while there is now more room, the bar’s parlour is still “where you go to get the best cocktails in the world.”

The 8 Types of Liqueurs You Need to Know by Heart

Not many people can say that their mom makes a stiff cocktail.

But I can. Later in life, my mom decided to go to bartending school and get her certificate. Her intention wasn’t to be shaking cocktails until 2 a.m. instead, she wanted to tend bar at a local mom-and-pop Italian restaurant, where she could pour drinks and chat with the regulars.

“I do it for the social interaction,” she says of the job she's held for four years now. “It’s fun to meet new people and hear about their days, plus I like to experiment and invent different specialty cocktails.” Vodka, rum and gin cocktails are the most common requests, but liqueurs are a great way to add a refreshing twist on a classic, she explains.

Liqueur, not to be confused with liquor, is a type of sweet alcoholic drink made from flowers, nuts, spices, herbs and some type of alcohol. They are bold enough to stand on their own but also make great mixers. Here, an exploration and explanation of the eight most common liqueurs you’re likely to come across.

① Amaretto
Amaretto, meaning 𠇊 little bitter” in Italian, is a popular almond-flavored liqueur that’s typically made from apricot pits, but it can also include additional spices and flavors depending on the brand. Sip it solo, add a little club soda or a splash of orange juice.

Baileys Irish Cream
When you hear the word Baileys, do you immediately envision yourself curled up in a blanket on the couch by the fireplace with an Irish cream-spiked hot chocolate? The combination of Irish whiskey, cream and chocolate makes it a delicious drink on its own or mixed in a cocktail.

This dark red liqueur is made from a combination of herbs and fruit, and is often served on the rocks or in popular cocktails, such as the Negroni.

An orange-flavored liqueur that’s a big player in many cocktail recipes, it is the perfect combination of bitter and sweet and used in classics like the Cosmopolitan (ahem, my mom’s signature drink). Don’t forget to garnish with a squeeze of lime.

⑤ Frangelico
This delicate liqueur is made from toasted hazelnuts and has hints of cocoa and vanilla. Similar to many sweet liqueurs, it can be mixed in a variety of cocktails or simply enjoyed on the rocks.

Meet the number one-selling coffee liqueur in the world. Our resident bartender says the most popular cocktail requests she gets using the coffee liqueur are White and Black Russians.

⑦ St-Germain
Flavored with elderflowers and carrying hints of sweet and floral notes, St-Germain has a subtle taste but can hold its own among other spirits, such as gin, Champagne, vodka and rum.

⑧ Sambuca
Sambuca is a strong, colorless Italian liqueur that’s flavored with anise and licorice. An Italian after-dinner favorite is a Sambuca, ghiaccio e mosche (“Sambuca, ice and flies”), which consists of a couple shots of sambuca with coffee beans.

20 best Italicus cocktails

Strictly speaking, this page should be titled "20 best Rosolio de Bergamotto cocktails" or even "20 best Bergamot liqueur cocktails" but the truth is, although a relatively new brand, Italicus dominates this category. That said, Italicus is modelled after a very traditional Italian style of liqueur.

Rounded by a honeyed sweetness, Italicus is loaded with aromatic zesty citrus oils supported by herbal and floral notes and is most suited to aperitivo cocktails, although it also lends itself to a wide variety of cocktails through to after dinner. Follows our selection of the 20 best on Difford's Guide.

Bergamot & Coconut Cobbler
With: Italicus, fino sherry and coconut water.
We say: A low-low alcohol, light and refreshing aperitivo which delivers the promised flavours of bergamot and coconut.

Bergamot Bamboo
With: Italicus, fino sherry and Angostura bitters.
We say: A bergamot influenced riff on the classic Bamboo that's best enjoyed as an aperitivo.

Bergamot Negroni
With: Italicus, oak aged gin, Campari and extra dry vermouth.
We say: As the name suggests, subtle bergamot notes influence this dryish Negroni riff.

With: Scotch whisky, gentian liqueur, Italicus and honey syrup.
We say: Honey balances bitter notes of gentian with citrusy bergamot and Scotch spirit.

Coffee & Tonic
With: Italicus, tonic water and cold brew coffee.
We say: Sipping through the bitter layer of coffee is a great start to this lightly bittersweet aperitivo.

Crystal Clear
With: Vodka, kummel, Italicus and birch water.
We say: Subtly citrusy and piney with delicate caraway. Clearly refined.

With: Italicus, light rum and sugar syrup.
We say: Delicious bergamot zesty freshness with subtle underlying rum. Great as an after-dinner freshening digestivo.

With: Dry gin, Italicus, limoncello, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Mouth puckering zesty citrus freshness underpinned by gin's botanical complexity.

For Sake's Sake
With: Light rum, sake, Italicus and orange curaçao liqueur.
We say: Hopefully you'll find this aromatic, subtly orange influenced sake and rum-based Martini-like cocktail both delightful to drink and easy to spell.

With: Italicus and pink grapefruit juice.
We say: Bergamot liqueur and grapefruit juice combine beautifully and while a tasty aperitivo this combo is best served with breakfast.

With: Italicus and IPA beer.
We say: Take a citrusy hopped beer and add a tad more citrus in the shape of Rosolio di Bergamotto. The result is predictably citrusy, refreshing and suited to the aperitivo moment rather than a night down the Rose & Crown.

With: Italicus, grapefruit juice, saline solution and soda water.
We say: Sour grapefruit and sweet bergamot balance each other in this refreshingly light aperitivo.

L'Arte Della Bellezza
With: Italicus, moscato single-varietal grappa and Americano Bianco.
We say: A short flavoursome, slightly sweet after-dinner grappa-laced cocktail.

Negroni Bianco Bergamotto
With: Dry gin, Italicus and extra dry vermouth.
We say: Dry with wine-like minerality, zesty bergamot and piney gin notes.

No Borders
With: Birch spirit, gentian liqueur, Italicus and Campari.
We say: A tasty bittersweet Negroni-style aperitif.

With: Italicus, extra dry vermouth and rhubarb bitters.
We say: A summery light aperitivo.

With: Amaro, gentian liqueur, Americano Bianco and Italicus.
We say: The distinctive flavours of amaro and gentian dominate this bittersweet but mellow aperitif.

Spritzer Fresco
With: Acqua Bianca liqueur, Italicus, grapefruit juice and prosecco.
We say: Zesty, floral, aromatic and fresh. A complex and refreshing spritz.

With: Pisco, amaro, Italicus, lemon juice and vanilla syrup.
We say: Layers of sour citrus, bittersweet vanilla and cleansing Moscato grape spirit. Best enjoyed as an aperitivo.

The Queen's Steeple
With: Amaro, cynar, Italicus and Boker's bitters.
We say: Montenegro amaro dominates this bittersweet delicately orangey aperitif cocktail.