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Digestifs for Thanksgiving Relief

More than a party shot, Harlem can settle an angry stomach.
More than a party shot, Harlem can settle an angry stomach.
Harlem Shots

For many of us, Thursday will end with a massive meal followed by long, fitful naps and exhausted stomachs that need days to recover. To counter post-Thanksgiving heaviness, turn to the long-standing tradition of digestifs. Composed of a diverse group of beverages ranging from whiskey to tea, digestifs are imbibed after meals and work to soothe, purify and aid an overworked stomach. So, before dropping off into Thanksgiving comatose, take a sip of one of these to drift off into pleasant dreams.

Before there was bourbon, there was applejack, and lots of it. The preferred drink of the Founding Fathers, applejack and its sibling, apple brandy, use hard cider as a base. Underneath a dominant apple perfume, it is slightly sweet and medium-bodied with subtle warm spices that tame an angry stomach. A few varieties exist; however, opt for Laird’s Applejack produced by America’s oldest running distillery for a digestif with the spirit of Thanksgiving built-in. Swing by Total Wine & More or Sunset Corners Fine Wine & Spirits to pick up a bottle for around $22.

Anis del Mono
Under the category of herbal liqueurs is an entire world dedicated to variations of anise. From Greek ouzo to French pastis to Mexican Xtabentún, anise has long been a popular liqueur variation and an international tummy soother. Sambuca may be the best known expression, but its Spanish cousin Anis del Mono features a natural, milder sweetness and a more vibrant liquorice taste for a few dollars less. Widely available in Miami liquor stores, Anis del Mono can be purchased in either a dulce (sweet) for sipping straight or over a few ice cubes or in seco (dry) to round out an espresso.

Harlem Liqueur
Once upon a time before there were frat boys, the German category Kräuterlikör, which includes Jagermeister, was valued for its intense herbal qualities that settled a full stomach. Although not a German liqueur, Harlem is a Dutch relative that offers a far lighter, less cough-syrupy version of this group. Full of orange and cherry notes rounded by a mild spice, Harlem can be chilled and sipped straight or used to replace the sweet vermouth in a Manhattan. Find it at Total Wine & More and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits for around $25.

Averno Amaro
This traditional liqueur is a Sicilian’s go-to source for relief after a heavy meal. Known as a bitter herbal liqueur, Averno is a balance of sweetness and mild herbs that works wonders on an overstuffed stomach. Found throughout Miami for about $23, Averno can be sipped straight, although a few cubes of ice help “open” the liqueur. Squeeze in a slice of orange, and let Averna work its magic.

Happy Thanksgiving, Cocktailian!

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  • Profile picture of Richard DiGiacomo
    Richard DiGiacomo 4 years ago

    Probably the most ignored aspect of Thanksgiving, what to drink to settle that stomach and the most important. Great article Rebekah!

  • Profile picture of Rebekah Mori
    Rebekah Mori 4 years ago

    Thanks Chef Rich. One of the more important aspects, no? We all need help digesting Thanksgiving dinner whether your 21 or 81. Hope you had a wonderful and delicious holiday.

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