Food & Culture

Try These Washington Digestifs After the Thanksgiving Feast

Eat too much? These local digestifs are here to help

By AJ Rathbun November 26, 2019


There’s one thing most Thanksgiving dinner devotees share—eating too much at the holiday table, and then, perhaps, even more as the evening progresses. If you find yourself way too full at after the first round of feasting this year, we suggest alleviating it with a Washington state digestif, an alcoholic drink consumed to aid digestion. Usually straight spirits or liqueurs, there are a few digestif-minded cocktails that help as well. To kickstart your post-Thanksgiving digestion, we have five great digestif solo sippers below and one cocktail. The next round of leftovers isn’t far away,

Bete, Sidetrack Distillery: A truly one-of-a-kind spirit, and one of the more unique creations in our state, Bete (pronounced “bet”) is distilled from beets, grown on the farm outside of Kent where this distillery also resides. Bete is very earthy and delivers a remarkable plates worth of roasted root vegetables through a savory smell and taste that matches the Thanksgiving meal perfectly, while still delivering a strong spiritual undercurrent that helps alleviate any stomach discomfort.

Arande Grappa, Wildwood Spirits: With our wonderful state wines, we should have more grappa, wine’s stronger sibling which uses the pomace, or leftovers, from winemaking and is a legendary after-dinner tipple in Italy. Luckily, we currently have this lovely limited-edition grappa from Erik Liedholm, head distiller at Bothell’s Wildwood Spirits. Crafted using Pinot Noir grapes—which are also used for rosé—from Rainmaker Vineyards in the Columbia River Gorge, this grappa is remarkably smooth, with a bouquet of floral and rosé notes and a hint of spring over a pleasant strength.

Nocino, Skip Rock Distillers: Continuing along the Italian-influenced line (food is so revered in Italy, it makes sense they historically have famous digestifs), this liqueur is made in Snohomish in a traditional manner from green unripe walnuts. It’s a perfect holiday post-dining treat from Thanksgiving through the winter holidays, thanks to its flavor combination of nuttiness, winter baking spices and a little citrus. When not feeling full, try a dollop on ice cream.

Apple Eau De Vie, San Juan Island Distillery: As we have delicious fruit, having delicious Washington state eau de vie, or fruit brandies, makes sense—and this San Juan apple eau de vie is one of the best. Created using apples grown on the distillery’s own orchard, the taste and nose is crisp, clear, layered and applelicious. It also maintains true fruit brandy’s gently vigorous nature (don’t think sweet) sure to be appreciated after too many slices of pie.

Amaro Mele, Highside Distilling: One more with Italian leanings, Amaro Mele, a Bainbridge Island-made member of the amari family (amari being herbal and dark digetifs originating in Italy), uses Highside’s gin as a base—it’s a commendable gin based on apples—plus five herbs and spices including rhubarb root, whole bean coffee and more. All these ingredients bring out a bracing, bitter and beautiful flavor, especially after a meal as extensive as Thanksgiving.

The Hounds They Start to Roar Cocktail, Your House: This title is in no way demeaning to dogs—but I know when I’ve eaten too much, I’m reminded of past pups always happy to have one extra treat, and then six others. The oomph and herbal remedies rolled into one equal and great digestif cocktail. Sip it slowly, while planning an assault on leftovers. I like going all locally made ingredients here—hopefully you do, too.

2 ounces Woodinville Whiskey Co. straight bourbon 
3/4 ounce Salish Seas Allspice liqueur 
1/2 ounce Seattle Distilling Company brandy 
2 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic bitters

 Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the whole bunch of ingredients. Stir well.

 Strain into a cocktail glass. Drink up!

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