A part of German and other European cultures is enjoyment of a digestif after dinner. In the Mosel Valley, our hosts' dad always makes a liqueur from his cherry orchard. Fiery stuff! Not the least bit sweet. Little bottles of digestif were favors at a wedding held at a country inn, close to both a dairy farm and giant windmills.
Since cherries are out of season, I suggest something easy, maybe a classic like Cointreau in a brandy sniffer. Its bittersweet taste can be savored slowly. The traditional way is straight and room temperature for any digestif. However, you may prefer it over ice.
Touring Europe some more, each region and country has their own digestif preferences. In France, the digestif of choice is often a brandy, such as Cognac or Armagnac. Called a digestivo in Italy, bitter amaros (Campari) and sweet grappas and liqueurs like limoncello and nocino are enjoyed. Frangelico is a pale gold-colored liqueur made of hazelnuts. It is distilled in the Piedmont region of northern Italy from an alcohol and water infusion of the toasted and crushed nuts. Spain has a preference for fortified wines like sherry, Madiera, and ports. Also in Germany, you'll find some of the most flavorful digestifs, including the famous Jägermeister. Check our selection to find a favorite.
Many began as medicinal liqueurs centuries ago. The herbs, spices, and other flavoring ingredients in these elixirs really were designed to calm the stomach or have some other medicinal benefit. It was somewhere around the 18th century that these were brought to the formal dining table.
To your health!