Cocktails to drink with baked goods?
Because of recent research indicating that people who drink moderately live longer than teatotalers, my husband and I are trying to add an evening drink to our post-kid-bedtime routine. The problem is that I have no idea how to pair alcohol and foods. Specifically, I love to bake, and I cannot imagine wine or beer with my evening chocolate chip cookie (or pumpkin bread, or rhubarb crumble, or cheesecake). We've got limited space for booze, so I don't really want a fully stocked bar, I would love just one fantastic, all-purpose mixed drink to pair with sweet baked goods.
Personally I don't think that cocktails and baked goods are a great pairing. At least, not on a regular basis: too much sugar, and too many angles with which to contend. (Various configurations of sour, bitter, etc, which may or may not work well with whatever you're eating.)
I think a better choice would be a glass of brandy (either Cognac or a higher end grappa) or maybe a gentler whiskey (a wheated bourbon such as Maker's Mark, for example). Nothing too heavy or aged. At least for me, I want my really really good stuff on its own so that I can concentrate on what's in the glass; if I'm eating something on the side I want simple.
I really like the mid-range Cognacs from Ferrand and Hine, both of which produce brandies in a somewhat lighter style (especially Hine). For grappa, Nonino's UE line is excellent and works quite nicely with chocolate chip cookies :-)
Some rums can be good too; molasses notes fit right in with baked goods. But I think a lot of them are too sweet, and as Dan mentioned that can be a bit redundant. (And make you feel like you're about to enter into a diabetic coma.) I am not a big fan of Zacapa 23 (though it certainly has many); I'd go with a rhum agricole, maybe Depaz Blue Cane or Rhum JM VSOP.
A bittersweet aromatized fortified wine would be my first choice. Carpano Antica Formula has vanilla notes that would be nice with your baked goods. Or Bonal Gentiane Quina. Or Lillet or Cocchi Americano for something orange-tinged.
Bittersweet digestifs are traditionally enjoyed after dinner, and would complement a baked good that isn't too sweet. Averna or Amaro Nocino might be a good place to start. Both are reasonably mild, and with pie-spice flavors would go well with baked goods. I've never had it, but others have said that Amaro Montenegro is very mild too (very orange-forward).
It is hard to find but Rucola is a very mild amaro (bitter liqueur) made from arugula. And CardAmaro is a wine-based amaro that is also delicious.
I would personally find a thick, sweet dessert cocktail redundant with the baked goods.
If you like spirits, cognac would certainly be good too. Or a sweet rum, like Ron Zacapa 23.
www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community
sweet wines do go well with baked goods-- a lightly sweet white would pair quite well with pumpkin bread, crumble, or cheesecake.
(I'd vaguely agree with Beachowolfe -- you might want to read up on what kinds of alcohol are suggested - all booze is not created equal, healthwise -- and adding cream and sugar in the way of liqueurs to your diet isn't going to do you any favors, regardless of the alcohol involved)