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Savory liqueurs leave sweet note lingering on palates

Drinks like the Hot Sicilian from Sassi  restaurant in Scottsdale are a terrific end to a meal when the  weather turns chilly.

Drinks like the Hot Sicilian from Sassi restaurant in Scottsdale are a terrific end to a meal when the weather turns chilly.

When nights turn brisk and darkness falls early, seductive after-dinner drinks replace the fruity cocktails of summer.

The ancient ritual of topping off dinner with a brandy served in a snifter or a freshly brewed coffee spiked with grappa provides a legitimate reason to linger at the table. Serve with or instead of dessert.

“After-dinner drinks are very much a winter thing, and a great way to wind down a meal,” says Angela Badolato of Sassi, a Scottsdale, Ariz., restaurant. “These are alcoholic drinks with wonderful flavors, but not strong enough to get you intoxicated.”

Most are easy to mix and require only a handful of ingredients.

After-dinner drinks fall into three main types: digestifs, sweets and spiked coffees. Digestifs, such as brandy, port or whiskey, are believed to relax the stomach after a meal.

Coffee drinks, popular in countries like Italy where dinners often are long, leisurely affairs, provide a subtle after-dinner pick-me-up.

Those that can double as dessert are simply a sweet way to end a meal.

At Los Sombreros Mexican Cafe in Scottsdale, one of the most popular after-dinner drinks is a hot chocolate with almond-infused tequila.

The sweet drink softens a spicy meal, and as bar manager Steve Douds explains, “Finishing a great meal with a little almond tequila is like a warm hug from Mom.”

Sip these sweets after dinner

Cafee Siciliano

6 ounces freshly brewed coffee

2 ounces Averna liqueur

Fresh whipped cream

Pour coffee into a mug. Add Averna liqueur and mix well. Top with whipped cream. Makes 1 drink.

Source: Sassi restaurant, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mexican hot chocolate

8 ounces whole milk

1/4 of a 3-ounce tablet of Abuelita chocolate (made by Nestle)

1 and 1/2 ounce of almendrado, also called almond-infused tequila

Heat milk on stovetop or in microwave until simmering (do not let the milk boil). Add chocolate tablet and stir to dissolve. Pour hot chocolate into a blender and add almond-infused tequila. Blend until frothy. Makes 1 drink.

Source: Los Sombreros Mexican Cafe, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Hot Sicilian

5 ounces hot water

3 ounces tangerine-fennel amaro

Cinnamon stick

Orange wheel

Pour hot water into a glass. Add amaro and mix well. Garnish with cinnamon stick and orange wheel. Makes 1 drink.

Source: Sassi restaurant in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Rompope

Crushed ice

4 ounces eggnog

3/4 ounce Mexican or Caribbean rum

3/4 ounce almendrado, also called almond-infused tequila

Fill glass about halfway with ice. Pour in all ingredients. Cover glass and shake. Makes 1 drink.

Source: Los Sombreros Mexican Cafe, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Caffe Coretto

6 ounces freshly brewed coffee

2 ounces almond-flavored grappa

Pour coffee into a mug. Add grappa and mix well. Makes 1 drink.

Source: Sassi restaurant, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Geisha coffe

1 ounce Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka

1/2 ounce Kahlua

1/2 ounce iced coffee

Ice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and serve in a cold beer glass. Makes 1 drink.

Source: Geisha A Go Go, Scottsdale, Ariz.

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This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

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For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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