106. digestifs

our food + wine contributor, kimberly scott is back with her first post of the year. she has some wonderful and unique suggestions for digestif liqueurs (especially helpful after a holiday season abundant with rich foods):

we have passed through the season of overindulgence. no matter your faith or lack thereof, treats abounded and what seemed like a never-ending smorgasbord of delights appeared day after day. whether it was dinners out and about with friends, lengthy meals with family, or the binging on food-related gifts after the season, you need to digest now, literally. here are some libations to seek out with company or solitarily, to sooth the stomach and the soul. now is a season to recharge.

cardamaro - amaro - piedmont, italy
i've become a fan of this smooth expression of the flavors of cardoon, a member of the sunflower family. you may of heard of cynar, the fiercely bitter amaro distilled with artichokes. this is a milder, more caramel covered flavor profile. but through the rounded edges you get a refreshing kiss of bitterness in the finish and a deeply vegetal nature in the background.

braulio - amaro - vaultelina, italy
perhaps you've braved the experience of fernet branca. whether you adored or hated the deep and piney expanses of it's taste, braulio deserves a try. i set it on the same spectrum of flavor, but more voluptuous, sweeter and warmer while still being restorative. a great friend to have in the wintertime to warm you up.

capellano barolo chinato - vino aromatizzato - piedmont, italy
a rare and beautiful treat, the recipe is secret and the result is quite luxurious. this is effectively aromatized wine that was originally destined to become the noble wine of barolo. instead, it met a mixture of herbs laid down in the 19th century by dr. giuseppe capellano, an italian pharmacist. it reminds me of a chilled mulled wine, but dry and a bit bitter. this elixir is one of those things that, if you visited another world, they would pour for you if they liked you.

chartreuse vep green - liqueur - grenoble, france
chartreuse is almost a household name, definitely a bar-hold name, so you may have had it as part of a mixture, or even straight up quickly thrown back as a shot. but vep is another animal all together-standing for 'vieillissement exceptionnellement prolonge' or extended exceptional aging. originally made by monks, the hundred and thirty plants in its secret recipe lends the signature color.
so no wonder it is an intensely herbaceous liqueur. with the extra age in oak casks it becomes a deep and formidable friend on a cold night. at one hundred and eight proof, it is not to be trifled with. fiery and stomach settling, savor this slowly, allowing it to offer up new flavors in it's long finish. ask your local quality liquor store for availability; they may special order it for you if they don't keep it in stock.

you can find the first three i featured at the lovely puritan & co. in inman square. they have an extensive amaro and digestif list, and would love to help you discover them all. swing by for just a drink at the bar, or try their restorative effects after a full meal. 

many thanks to puritan & co. for allowing us to photograph their gorgeous space. it's truly one of our favorite spots in cambridge.

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