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Sep 27, 2013 05:25 AM

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
Apple cake
Maybe a pavlova, though I've no idea yet what flavors for the toppings


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  1. 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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    3 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      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!

      1. re: debbiel

        Younger people tend to like sweet, so cordial should work well. Basically introduce them as premium quality dessert drinks. just make sure that you have very small cordial glasses to sip from. Nothing like a big glug of sweet cordials and liqueurs to turn you off.

      2. re: EvergreenDan

        Dan you beat me to it. Good reccomendations.

      3. you might want to consider the brandy alexander.

        made with Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao.

        also might want to sprinkle a little nutmeg on top, and maybe some chocolate shavings.

        1. 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.

          Coffee Cocktail
          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.

          1. 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)
            4 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DrinkinLife

              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.

            2. 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