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Herbal Liqueurs as Digestifs: From Amaro to Fernet

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The beauty of drinks is that they can be chosen based on the season and the mood. Food can also influence the choice of drinks. Whether you want a drink prior to, during, or after a meal, is an important factor. 

Because of that, if you run a bar or a restaurant, you need to make sure your beverage menu has a lot of options. From delicious holiday drinks and different types of alcohol to herbal liqueurs that can act as digestifs, you have a lot to think about (see: what are digestifs). 

Aperitifs and digestifs are very common in some cultures, especially in Europe. These drinks help the digestive system and are had either before or after a meal. There is a wide variety of drinks that you already serve at your restaurant that work as aperitifs and digestifs. For example, champagne is a great aperitif, while brandy is an amazing digestif. 

If you want to improve your selection of drinks that will work great as digestifs, you should consider adding more herbal liqueurs to the mix. Let’s see what options you have and the difference between them in the paragraphs below!

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What Are Herbal Liqueurs? 

Herbal liqueurs are spirits that include a lot of botanical elements. They defer from other liqueurs because there are made with plenty of spices and herbs. They also include roots and fruits, and occasionally flowers. 

The herbal liqueurs are made with a foundational alcohol like vodka or neutral grain alcohol. The blend that is made is then sweetened and sometimes, it’s even aged. The aging process helps producers create all kinds of unique flavors. 

Key Takeaways: Herbal liqueurs are great drinks that you can use in cocktails, but also neat as digestifs. Add a few of them to your beverage menu to provide a unique experience to your customers. They will finish their meal at your restaurant on a high note if you offer more than just desserts!

The History of Herbal Liqueurs

The history of herbal liqueurs goes back to when monks and healers used them for medical purposes many years ago. They produced these liqueurs are remedies for different sicknesses. That’s why initially, the herbal liqueurs were sought after for their healing qualities. They became a leisure drink much later in the years. 

Nowadays, there is a huge range of herbal liqueurs that are available to buy. Each one is distinguished by its unique flavors and features. The most popular types of herbal liqueurs are:


The amaro liqueur originates from Italy. It has a bittersweet taste and it’s typically enjoyed as a digestif after a meal. This liqueur is made with a blend of roots and herbs, as well as citrus peels. It’s characterized by its dark and caramelized color. It also has a distinctive bitter taste. 


This herbal liqueur comes from France. It’s a vividly colored drink that is made by Carthusian monks. They are using a special, secret blend of about 130 herbs, flowers, and different plants. You can find this herbal liqueur in two varieties - Yellow Chartreuse and Green Chartreuse. The Green one is stronger and much more herbaceous, while the Yellow one is milder and sweeter. 


As the name suggests, this is German herbal liqueur. It’s made from a wide variety of herbs, roots, and spices. In fact, it’s a whole category of herbal liqueurs and the most popular one is Jägermeister. This liqueur has a distinctive flavor and has notes of citrus, anise, and licorice. 


Fernet is another Italian herbal liqueur. It’s aromatic but bitter. More often than not, it’s consumed as a digestif. This liqueur has a bold flavor profile and features herbs and spices. A hint of menthol, too. 

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This liqueur is a Sicilian amaro which is known for its rich and velvety texture. Averna is a blend of herbs and citrus. It also includes other botanicals. The flavor is bittersweet and it’s most commonly enjoyed after a meal. 


The name gives out the original place of this liqueur, too. It comes from Italy and it’s a type of amaro. The recipe for Ramazzotti dates back to the 1800s. It’s a mix of roots and 33 herbs. This blend is slightly sweet and balanced. It’s consumed neat most often and it’s a great digestif. 


The word Strega means “witch” in Italian but it’s also a yellow herbal liqueur. It contains as much as 70 herbs and spices! The liqueur has a complex and aromatic flavor and of course, it’s often enjoyed as a digestif. 


Yet another great German herbal liqueur - the Underberg. It comes in small, very distinctive bottles and contains a blend of herbs. It’s after consumed as a shot (see also: how much is a shot)  after a meal to aid digestion. The flavor is intense and herbal. 


This liqueur was originally created as a absinthe substitute. It’s an anise flavored drinks with a milder profile than the traditional absinthe. The most common way to enjoy it is as a digestif, both neat or in a cocktail.

Choose the Herbal Liqueurs for Your Restaurant

The best way to choose the right herbal liqueurs for your own restaurant is by trying. First, you can taste them and narrow down some favorites. However, the best way to make a final decision on what to stock on in larger quantities is by getting the opinions of the customers. 

Before you build the ideal beverage inventory for your restaurant, you need to try different options and gather data. You can try adding some herbal liqueurs to your menu for a specific period of time and see how consumers react. Make note of their reaction and gather as much feedback as possible.

To make things even easier on yourself during the testing time, you should use a platform, such as BinWise. With our software, you can monitor closely what sells well and what doesn’t. You can review historic data, notice trends, and make important decisions with ease. 

BinWise also helps you save time, limit losses, and so much more. If you want to learn about all the great features and the benefits you can get, book a demo with us today!

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Frequently Asked Questions about Herbal Liqueurs as Digestifs

If you want to learn more about herbal liqueur and using them as digestifs, read this section. We will answer some common questions and give you additional information about these interesting drinks!

Why Are Herbal Liqueurs Used as Digestifs?

Herbal liqueurs are often used as digestifs. That’s because they typically contain a variety of botanicals and herbs, as well as spices that are believed to have digestive properties. The complex flavors of these liqueurs can also provide a palate-cleansing end to a meal.

What Are Some Common Herbs Found in Herbal Liqueurs Used as Digestifs?

Common herbs in herbal liqueurs include anise, fennel, mint, chamomile, thyme, and various other botanicals. The combination of these ingredients contributes to the unique and often complex flavor profiles of digestifs. 

How Should Herbal Liqueurs Be Served as Digestifs?

Herbal liqueurs are often served neat or on the rocks as digestifs. They can also be enjoyed in cocktails, depending on personal preference. Serving temperatures may vary, but many are best enjoyed slightly chilled.

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