Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Feb 7, 2010 11:45 AM


When offering a Digestif (which i know is normally served after the meal), would it be competely incorrect to serve it after the salad but before dessert? The salad is going to follow the main course.

Miss Clawdy

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not personally aware of the rules in this regard. However, as far as flavour flow goes I'd rather have the digestif after dessert. I'd find it too jarring to switch from salad to digestif.

    Did you have a specific one in mind?

    BTW welcome Cobourg person.

    1. Googs -
      Thanks for your comments - the Digestif I am planning to use has three citrus juices with Grappa (Mario Batali). The dessert is a very rich and intense chocolate "cake" and I am having a hard time with the drink following that too.

      I am evenconsidering after the main - never worrying too much about breaking rules if it makes sense.

      I am an ex -pat Torontonian and still do most of my food shopping there for my Catering business.


      2 Replies
      1. re: missclawdy

        I think grappa + juice will be cleansing instead of an absolute meal stopper. The recommendations for having amaros like Averna after dessert (in addition to the grappa, is my call) would be great. Or a glass of port (instead of the amaro) which goes rather well with chocolate.

        1. re: yarm

          I'd have to agree with yarm. The Batali sounds like it would prepare the palate quite nicely for your intense chocolate experience. While I agree Port is an excellent choice, Averna would work well too and is a road less travelled.

          missclawdy, although called bitter Averna isn't something you'd expect only college kids to chug. It has the typical warm feel both in the mouth and down the throat, but it isn't over-the-top. It also plays well with others. When not slow drinking a shot straight-up, I mix it with other liqueurs.

      2. I'm a bitter nut, but an intense chocolate cake seems to call out for an amaro, if the crowd is adventurous. Averna, maybe? The spicy flavors would get me ready for chocolate. The grapa/citrus would seem like it would be better after the dessert, especially if the salad has a lot of acid. Somehow going from sour/citrus to dessert seem a bit out of sequence. Just a thought.

        That said, I've clear a fair number of almost-full tiny amaro glasses from the table. :(

        5 Replies
        1. re: EvergreenDan


          I think you are both right - after dessert makes the most sense.

          I have never tried Averna and must admit that I am unfamiliar with Amaros. Are they a type of Italian Digestivi?


          1. re: missclawdy

            Amaro means "bitter" in Italian. Yes, most may be used after a meal, supposedly to aid in digestion. (Personally, I try to avoid stuffing myself, so I've never seen the point in that. I think you should suffer if you eat to much. :) ).

            It is a bracing experience, one that takes time to learn to love. Tiny glasses would be in order. I typically serve about 1/2 oz or so. That way if the guest doesn't like it, I haven't wasted much. I can always bring the bottle out for seconds. Another fun way to handle it is to bring a few bottles to the table with empty glasses. In this way, someone can have a bit of something accessible (like amaretto, or even grappa or kirschwasser) or challenging (like an amaro). If I'm serving a nice cognac, then a larger glass is in order.

            Campari is a also very common amaro, but I don't think it's usually drunk neat after dinner. I drink it very often in cocktails or with soda, but before dinner. (Or in the middle of the afternoon :) .) The same for Aperol and Cynar.

            Depending upon my audience, I often try to expand their horizons a bit. If you ask my guests, they may complain that I'm constantly trying to poison them.

            1. re: EvergreenDan

              Thanks again Dan-

              With the reference to Campari which I love I understand now why this should be served after the meal.

              You sound like the kind of host everyone should be fortunate enough to know.


              1. re: EvergreenDan

                haha, i do the same. I had a friend bring me back a bottle of Suze from France. And I like to offer it to unsuspecting guests. They're very taken aback by its flavor profile that resembles dirt and bitter clumps of grass.

                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                  "dirt and bitter clumps of grass"

                  Now you're just making us envious.