Serious Eats: Drinks

Post-Thanksgiving Cocktail: The Violet Hour's After Coffee

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A bitter cocktail, designed to wake your taste buds back up after a big meal. [Photograph: Nick Guy]

By the time the coffee is poured after the Thanksgiving feast, there's a good chance that your tastebuds are beat—they've been working hard! Toby Maloney of the famed bar The Violet Hour in Chicago came up with After Coffee as the cocktail to revive them.

"The idea was to have a drink that had bombastic flavors that would be satisfying after a big meal of deep flavors and then an espresso," Maloney told us. "It takes a lot to wake up a palate that has been pistol-whipped with flavor."

He chose Campari as the drink's base, which gives you a sweet, red berry flavor up front and then a big smack of bitterness at the back of your tongue. It says something that the Fernet Branca in this cocktail doesn't overwhelm everything else. Normally a powerful ingredient in whatever it's in, we got just hints of Fernet's black licorice flavor, but the digestif's powerful profile is subdued behind the generous pour of Campari. The funky rum—Maloney calls for Smith & Cross—adds to the spice profile and makes the drink a little earthy.

A piece of fresh mint adds a splash of festive color, and the aroma plays nicely against the flavors of this bitter after-dinner drink. If you're not into amari and bitter liqueurs, skip this drink, but if you are, it might just be the thing that gets you ready for another round of pie.

About the author: Nick Guy is the accessories editor for iLounge, and covers barware and drinking accessories for The Sweethome. He is based in Buffalo, NY, and on Twitter is @thenickguy. Liquor samples were provided for recipe testing.

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