Our favourite after-dinner drink and dessert pairings
Aperitif and digestif – two words that are guaranteed to pique our interest. A cocktail before dinner has even started helps to whet appetites, spark conversation and makes promises of a good night ahead; a drink afterwards ensures everyone ends the night with a smile on their face. But while we might spend a few minutes online researching the right wine to serve with the main course, often little thought goes into what might work well with the dessert.
We want to change that. Serving a dessert offers up a chance for a bit of celebration and theatre; we don’t make them every day, so when we do, it’s a chance to go all-out. And while a decent dessert wine is all well and good, a perfectly paired cocktail is even better (and gives you a chance to show off your mixologist skills).
These six pairings don’t just work well together – they actually make the desserts and drinks taste better than they would on their own. The contrasting and complementing flavours work hand in hand, guaranteeing very happy guests. It’s the final course people remember the most after a meal; make sure that memory is long-lasting with these delicious duos.
Spiced Drambuie millionaire’s shortbread + ginger champagne cocktail
Millionaire’s shortbread is both a joy to make and eat. It’s also endlessly versatile in terms of how you flavour the biscuit and/or caramel – as this spiced recipes proves. Pair a slice with this simple cocktail of champagne and ginger-infused gin to really complement the Drambuie-flavoured caramel and mixed spice shortbread.
Pairing 2: Affogato with orange and Drambuie ice cream + toasted marshmallow hot buttered rum
Playing around with contrasting temperatures in food sounds like something you’d find on a Michelin-starred menu, but it’s easy to recreate at home and results in something incredible. The zesty ice cream steals the show, but when served with warm spiced coffee and a hot buttered rum (complete with the theatre of a flaming marshmallow) the trio work in perfect harmony to create a tough-to-beat combo.
Pairing 3: Lemon and mascarpone Drambuie tartlets + old fashioned
These knockout tarts boast all the sharp tang you’d expect from lemon, but the floral honey, creamy mascarpone and gentle warmth of Drambuie take them to the next level. An old fashioned – a classic for a reason – provides the perfect partner to this pud, bolstering the sweet whisky-infused flavour even further.
Pairing 4: Chocolate baklava + Drambuie iced espresso
Baklava – those buttery diamond-shaped filo pastry bites drenched in syrup and stuffed with chopped nuts – finish any dinner party with aplomb. Switch out the more common pistachio filling for pecans, tahini and chocolate which, when paired with a simple Drambuie-spiked espresso over ice, provide the ultimate after-dinner treat.
Pairing 5: Sea salt and pecan blondies + Drambuie espresso martini
Dark chocolate and coffee are a match made in heaven – but we find the white chocolate, almonds and pecans in these blondies pair perfectly with this martini. The honeyed spice of Drambuie brings the bake to life, tempering the richness to boot. Make a large batch… you’ll find yourself (and others) going back for seconds!
Pairing 6: Pineapple fritters with salted caramel sauce + Drambuie coffee grapefruit paloma
These crisp nuggets of deliciousness combine super-sweet pineapple with decadent clotted cream and the gentle warmth of cinnamon – and a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce for good measure. Cut through all that indulgence with a bright, spritzy paloma, which boasts the pleasing bitter zing of grapefruit juice with the rich, smooth flavours of Drambuie.