Some of the best desserts are liquid ones. This is especially true during the calorie-rich holiday season, when heavy meals often encroach on go-to favorites like cakes and pies. On top of being an often sweet and nuanced way to chase dinner, these sippers function like digestifs, settling the stomach while stretching out the social hour — or hours. This year, send a memorable supper off right with one of these excellent post-dinner pours, the ultimate holiday dessert drinks.
Thurston Wolfe 2017 Sweet Rebecca, Yakima Valley
16% ABV| $15/375ML
The outstanding aromatics of this Orange Muscat dessert wine practically jump out of the glass. Jasmine, green tea, key lime pie, rose petal and honeysuckle can all be detected in this fragrant offering from a central Washington winery known for its sweeter offerings. Serve slightly chilled to really let the aromas sing.
Koenig Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine, Snake River Valley
11.2% ABV | $25/375ML
This Cabernet Sauvignon ice wine shows deep strawberry rhubarb notes, with a lovely balance of fruitiness and grassiness. At 16 percent residual sugar, it’s far from cloying and plenty lively on the palate. A true example of the genre, the fruit for this wine was picked frozen in December to intensify flavors.
New Deal Distillery Coffee Liqueur
25.6% ABV | $30/750ML
Made with Water Avenue coffee via the cold-brew approach, this Portland-made liqueur is lovely served neat after a meal. The nose shows caramelized sugar and toffee while the flavor is sweet and lasting — rich coffee ice cream, in a glass. It’s a pick-me-up and postprandial sipper all at once.
Coelho Winery 2013 Five-Year Tawny-Style Dessert Wine
19.2% ABV | $199/3-Pack 500ML
Amity, Oregon, winery Coelho’s take on a Port-style wine is a decadent and layered one the Old World would appreciate. Made from Touriga Francesa, Alvarelhão, Souzão, Tinta Cão and Tinta Roriz, this bottling offers an intriguing mix of fig, carrot cake and baking spice notes. The three-pack it’s sold in includes one each of the 10-year, five-year and 2017 ruby Port-inspired wines.
Adrift Distillers Cranberry Liqueur
29.8% ABV | $24/375ML
Cranberry tends to follow the holidays into festive kitchen recipes and for good reason. Enjoy the fruit’s signature tartness with this, arguably Adrift Distillers’ best offering. Made from Starvation Alley berries also in Long Beach, Washington, this liqueur is bittersweet, refreshing and the perfect nightcap for a tryptophan-induced evening. Enjoy it neat to really absorb its depth.
Clear Creek Distillery Pinot Noir Grappa
40% ABV | $40/375ML
Made from the pomace of Pinot Noir grapes — simply, the brandy distilled from pressed grapes — this grappa puts the Pacific Northwest crush pad in your snifter. With freshly picked fruit, stem-y herbaceous notes and an overarching old-world ancient cellar quality, this high-octane sipper is surprisingly smooth and a joy to digest with.
Photo by Brittany Carvalho