Cocktails for dessert party
I'm putting together a dessert buffet for 12 women next week and would love some help with cocktails. I'll have cava on hand as a non-spirit option (and tea and coffee), but I'd also like to offer a couple of cocktail options.
I know this is a fairly broad request, but what would you serve for dessert and cocktail night?
At this point my plans are to make:
Assorted chocolate truffles
Chocolate olive oil cake
Walnut shortbread cookies
Plum cardamom turnovers
Citrus coconut bars
Maybe a pavlova, though I've no idea yet what flavors for the toppings
The sweetness of the desserts is likely to make that Cava a bit tart. It would be best to serve it as a welcome drink before the desserts.
Rather than a cocktail, you might consider a selection of cordials and spirits. The cordials have plenty of sugar to stand up the desserts. That doesn't mean they all have to be boring. Digestivo amari are wonderful. Something mild and accessible might be nice. Averna or Nonino, for example. Or Meletti has nice chocolate-like tones (even though I don't believe it has cocoa in it).
Good cassis is pretty nice to sip.
Nocino is walnut liqueur. It's pretty strong in flavor, but lots of people like it to the point of making it themselves.
For spirits, an eau-de-vie is fun. You could go with plum, such as slivovitz. I happen to love kirsch (cherry / cherry pit eau-de-vie). Or brandy/cognac would be wonderful.
If you have your heart set on a cocktail, you might like a Meletti Lemon Flip. It requires double-shaking, though, so it might be a bit much if a lot of the women want one. It is probably possible to make 4 at a time in a quart mason jar. Larger would be even better.
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Thank you so much for all of the ideas! And good point about the cava. So that is exactly what I'll do...serve it as a welcome. Which is also a bit easier to manage as lots of folks come in at once.
I like the idea of the cordials, but I don't know how that will go over with the crowd. It's a young-ish crowd (or at least younger than I am--they'll be mid 20s to mid 30s). Do younger folk drink cordials? Maybe I can get a couple, have them on hand, and possibly introduce some folks to something new. I've had nocino because it is a favorite of a friend. Back when we hosted NYE, I always made sure to have some for him.
The Meletti lemon flip looks delicious!
I'll second the Brandy Alexander. Another option is something called the Coffee Cocktail if found in the PDT cocktail book but attributed to Jerry Thomas, 1887.
1.5 oz Cognac or other good brandy(Martel vsop Cognac)
1.5 oz port(Noval Black Port)
.25 oz simple syrup
1 whole egg
Dry shake all ingedients for 20 sec, then add ice and shake for 30-40 sec. Strain into coupe and garnish with grated Nutmeg or grated essprsso bean.
A Cranberry Cobbler might work for the Ladies. Source PDT book.
2 oz dry gin
.75 oz lustau eat India sherry
.5 oz cranberry syrup(2-1 ratio is simple syrup to cranberries)
1 orange wheel
1 lemon wedge
Add citrus, cranberries, and syrup and muddle. Add the rest and shake. Strain into chilled rocks grass filled with ice(pebble). Garnish with mint sprig and thre macerated cranberries.
I've had that drink in PDT when it was on the seasonal list. Wow, that must have been six years ago. It is very good. I remember it because my date had it as her first drink that night, and then we had a few other cocktails, and she had her cocktail epiphany that night and was very impressed. By the drinks, the bar, and me. She also got a bit wasted and fun was had by all.
So much I think depends on what type of women/event we are talking about. Not all the women I know like boozy cocktails but a few do. Since you have some more boozy suggestions I'm going to take a different approach which may or may not work for your crowd (which some will dismiss as being too 'girl-ly' or mundane but hey, they are just options)
A chocolate martini - simple to make, easy to drink, would go with your menu
Limoncello - easy to drink straight up if you want it, great mixed with prosecco for a bubbly, lemony dessert drink - while sweet I like a citrus with dessert to mentally cut some of the sweetness
French martini - pineapple juice, vodka, chambord - just an easy to drink cocktail
Calvados side car - to go with your apple desserts and again I like the citrus note during dessert
Vin santo - not a cocktail but one of my favorite things to drink with dessert, especially those walnut shortbread cookies you're making. it is an italian sweet dessert wine (essentially) very complex, caramel-ly, nutty tasting
Thanks for all of the ideas. I decided to build around pear flavors to welcome autumn (and then it got to near 90 yesterday). I was prepped to make several cocktails with pear eau de vie. And I also had on hand nocino.
And every single one of them choosing alcohol chose the pear eau de vie and champagne cocktail. And they loved it. And now I have a lot of booze in the house. :)
I tried to get folks to try sips of the eau de vie and the nocino, but it was a no go. But I will thoroughly enjoy the nocino when the real autumn weather arrives.
While cocktails can work here, it's a missed opportunity not to serve matching dessert wines as they will just outshine the cocktails and amaze your guests.
There are at least 3 dessert wines that match your menu across the spectrum and would be absolute musts for me: Muscat, Sauternes, and a dessert riesling.
The muscat matches the chocolate, the plum, citrus, apple elements and predictable toppings for your pavlova (sweet fruits). I'd go with Moscato d'Asti here, a great dessert-loving sparkler. You could also do heavier sipping muscats like beaume d'venise or even orange muscat, but the d'asti is so versatile and everyone loves it. Also works with the walnut shortbread.
The dessert riesling will beautifully match the plum, citrus, apple elements and the pavlova with sweet fruit topping.
The sauternes is a gorgeous dessert wine, will match your plum, citrus, and pavlova again, and is fair with the walnut shortbread.
Find a reliable wineshop near you and they should stock all of these. You've gone to great trouble to prepare these desserts, serve them with wines that perfectly complement them and take the experience to the next level.