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Digestif Spirits: The Top Spirits That Work as Digestifs

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Planning a beverage inventory for a bar or restaurant takes a lot of time and energy. It also takes knowledge about different beverages and how you can implement them into the beverage menu. Drink and food pairings are a crucial part of the whole process, too. 

Here, on our blog page, we have numerous articles about different varieties of wine, types of alcohol, and even popular and unpopular cocktails. We have discussed aperitifs and answered the “what are digestifs” question. With the knowledge and experience we share, you can build your year-round and seasonal menus with ease.  

To help you diversify your offers even more and give you additional helpful information, we want to talk about digestif spirits. Some of these drinks you may already be serving, but knowing about their digestif qualities will help your waiters suggest them at the right time. Let’s get right into it!

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What are Digestif Spirits? 

Digestif spirits are alcoholic drinks that are typically consumed after a meal. They are believed to aid digestion when they are enjoyed slowly and in small quantities. The tradition surrounding digestif spirits and other digestif drinks comes from Europe. Most digestifs come from various Italian regions and are super popular there. 

Key Takeaways: There are plenty of digestif spirits you can serve at your restaurant and satisfy the tastes of a large group of people. Curate the drinks based on the type of meals you serve at your restaurant or the overall concept of your business. Don’t forget to try different options and see what your customers like best!

Which are The Most Popular Digestif Spirits? 

The most popular digestif spirits vary best on the country and region. However, we will look at it from a worldwide perspective. There are many great digestif spirits you can enjoy after your meal, but the most well-known ones include: 


Brandy is a distilled spirit made from wine or fermented fruit juice (see: how is brandy made). It’s commonly aged in barrels and can be made from a large variety of fruits - from berries to pears and apples. You can choose from different fruit brandies or stick to apple brandy. It all depends on your preferences and the cuisine of your restaurant. 

To help you choose the right brandy type, you can read what we had to say about food and brandy pairings, as well as our article on brandy benefits.


Cognac is a specific type of brandy. It’s produced in the Cognac region of France. It undergoes a specific distillation process and aging. The result is a smooth and refined spirit, often enjoyed as a digestif.


Grappa is an Italian spirit made from the pomace (skins, seeds, and stems) left over from winemaking. It has a strong and distinctive flavor and is often consumed to aid digestion. It contains 35 to 60% ABV. The nickname of this drink is “firewater” and it is closer to tequila in taste, rather than grape juice. 


Amaro is an Italian herbal liqueur with a bittersweet taste. It is made by infusing a base spirit with a variety of herbs, roots, and spices. Amaro is believed to have digestive properties and is often consumed neat. The alcohol per volume of Amaro is between 16% and 40%. 


Aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit flavored with herbs. Predominantly are used caraway or dill. It is commonly consumed as a digestive in Nordic countries. It has been produced there since the 15th century. This drink is distilled from grain or potatoes, which makes it a bit more unique than the Italian digestifs. 

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Fernet is a type of amaro known for its intense and bitter flavor. It often contains a blend of herbs, spices, and other botanicals. Fernet is traditionally consumed as a digestif. Fernet typically contains about 45% of alcohol per volume. It can be served on ice or at room temperature. 

Herbal Liqueurs

There is a wide range of herbal liqueurs that are used as digestifs. These digestif spirits include blends of botanicals and herbs. They are very aromatic and are often consumed on their own. Popular herbal liqueurs are Chartreuse and Jägermeister.

Port Wine

Port is a fortified wine from Portugal. It comes in various styles, including Ruby, Tawny, and Vintage. Some varieties of port, particularly Tawny and Vintage, are often enjoyed as digestifs. This is a wine that you need to have on your wine list, for sure. Learn more about it, by reading our article on history of port wine.


Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored spirit that becomes cloudy when mixed with water. It is a popular choice as a digestif in Greece. It also goes well with a variety of seafood dishes, which is why if you run a seafood restaurant you must have it on your menu. 


Sambuca is an Italian anise-flavored liqueur. It is often served neat and maybe flamed before drinking. Sambuca is believed to aid digestion and is popular in Mediterranean cultures. 

Keeping the Beverage Inventory in Check

To make sure that you are serving your customers quality drinks, you need to curate your menu right. Choose various digestif spirits, wines, and other beverages, and make sure that you use everything up before the expiration date. You should also gather feedback and notice which drinks get more love and attention and which are not ordered that much.

With the help of BinWise, you can streamline the process of taking inventory, ordering bottles, and so much more! You can even gather data to analyze and make it easier for yourself to decide which drinks to keep on your menu. Book a demo with us now to find out more! 

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Frequently Asked Questions about Digestif Spirits

Digestif spirits are an interesting topic of discussion. There are many great ones you can serve at your restaurant once your guests have finished their delicious meal. Don’t forget to suggest different options as people have different tastes. 

To give you even more information, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions on digestif spirits. 

Why Are Digestif Spirits Consumed After a Meal?

Digestif spirits are thought to have digestive properties, helping to soothe the stomach and aid in the digestion of a heavy meal. Additionally, they provide a pleasant and leisurely conclusion to a dining experience. That’s why restaurants need to step up their digestif spirits game and make sure they offer a variety. 

How Should Digestif Spirits Be Served?

Digestif spirits are typically served neat or on the rocks. They are often sipped slowly to appreciate their flavors. Some herbal liqueurs may be enjoyed as shots (see: how much is a shot) or in cocktails. 

To make sure that people are ordering digestifs after their meal, have your staff trained to offer them. They should also be familiar with the flavor profiles of the different digestif spirits so they can make good suggestions to customers. 

Can Anyone Enjoy Digestif Spirits?

Digestif spirits can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates their flavors. While they are often associated with special occasions and post-meal rituals, there are no strict rules, and individuals may choose to enjoy them whenever they prefer. 

Of course, people who can’t or don’t to have alcohol should avoid these drinks and choose non-alcoholic alternatives. Herbal teas and infused water with herbs are some of the most common non-alcoholic beverages used as digestifs. 

What Are Some Common Types of Digestif Spirits?

Common types of digestif spirits include:

  • Brandy
  • Cognac
  • Grappa
  • Herbal liqueurs - Chartreuse or Fernet-Branca
  • Amaro
  • Fruit-based liqueurs - limoncello or schnapps

How Are Digestif Spirits Different From Aperitifs?

While both digestif and aperitif spirits are consumed before or after a meal, they serve different purposes. Aperitifs are typically served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, while digestifs are served after a meal to aid digestion.

What Are the Typical Alcohol Levels in Digestif Spirits?

Digestif spirits often have higher alcohol levels, ranging from 20% to 50% alcohol by volume (ABV). However, this can vary depending on the specific type of spirit and brand.

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