The Champagne flutes are filled for when the guests arrive and the Barolo is decanting for dinner, but what about dessert? Sure, you’ll throw on some coffee to perk up guests after they’ve been spoiled with your best attempt at a Martha Stewart Christmas, but isn’t it even more romantic to retire to the living room, sit in front of the fire, and sip on cordials? I think we can all imagine this Norman Rockwell scene, with a Brittany Spaniel at the hearth–sleepy kitty curled up to his side, but what is the sweet libation the crowd imbibes in the painting in our minds?
What exactly is a cordial?
To be honest, “cordial” is a fancy way to say liqueur. It’s a spirit that’s generally low in alcohol, quite sweet, and infused with nuts, berries, seeds, herbs, or cream. Cordials came about as an alcoholic medicine that was used to invigorate and revitalize the heart, body, and spirit, and they worked so well that people who weren’t sick started to drink them for recreation. On a side note, in other parts of the world, cordials are nonalcoholic syrups combined with seltzer water, much like a soda pop.
Cordials fly off the shelves at the holidays, whether they are mixed into cocktails, stirred into cakes, or consumed on their own. Here are our picks for this year’s must-have nightcaps!
First off, if you go to the Rumchata website, you will be wowed by the plethora of mouthwatering recipes there. The one all of our customers are talking about is the Toasted Cinnamon Grahams. Rumchata is a blend of Caribbean rum and the traditional Latin American drink Horchata. Horchata is generally made with rice, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk or water. It reminds everyone of something different: oatmeal cookies, cinnamon toast, or like me, drinking the milk when you’re done with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal!
We have many different types of Limoncello, and all of them are tart, sweet, and delish! Limoncello is a traditional Italian cordial made with very high-proof grain spirit and fresh lemons. The best Limoncellos come from Sorrento, a region known for its intensely aromatic lemons.
B & B
B & B is one of my personal favorites around the holidays. The first B stands for Benedictine Liqueur: a spicy, citrusy-sweet, 500-year-old potion of 23 different plants and spices. The second B stands for Brandy–well, Cognac to be more specific. They are blended together and aged to perfection for four additional months. Though Benedictine is a nice cordial, the Cognac lightens its syrupy sweetness and gives it a kick. It’s terrific with biscotti or other Christmas treats.
Christmas is a time for new adventures and old traditions. I hope you try out some of these new and old cordials on your guests at your next holiday party!