Food & Drink

7 after-dinner drinks for your festive feast

These after-dinner tipples offer the perfect sweet ending (Alamy/PA)
These after-dinner tipples offer the perfect sweet ending (Alamy/PA) These after-dinner tipples offer the perfect sweet ending (Alamy/PA)

When it comes to sweet endings, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to – especially if you’ve saved some room for the Christmas pud and brandy butter.

Even all-time favourites, such as the cheese board, deserve a dedicated digestif, especially if you recall the ghost of Christmas past when the mighty fine wine you served with lunch became a bitter afterthought – the golden rule is to match sweet with sweet to tickle the taste buds.

To round off the meal in style, these delectable drops will leave a lasting impression…

1. Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora, Australia, £8.50 (37.5cl), Tesco

Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora, Australia, Tesco
Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora, Australia, Tesco (Brown Brothers/PA)

Fruity, floral and lots of fun, this luscious little sweetie is sure to impress with sweet notes of orange blossom, candied citrusy characters and a perfect combination of finely balanced acidity and rich, concentrated fruit. Serve chilled and savour with trifle and soft blue cheeses.

2. Waitrose Pale Cream Sherry, Spain, £9.99 (75cl), Waitrose

Waitrose Pale Cream Sherry, Spain, Waitrose
Waitrose Pale Cream Sherry, Spain, Waitrose (Waitrose/PA)

Extremely moreish, this smooth, sweet sherry offers delightful aromas of baked apple, typical yeasty notes and exotic fruits; similar flavours unfold on the palate with harmonious silky finish. Serve chilled with fruit salads, Christmas apple pie and rich pâtés.

3. Irresistible 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley, Portugal, £16.95 (75cl) Co-op, in-store

Irresistible 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley, Portugal, Co-op
Irresistible 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley, Portugal, Co-op (Co-op/PA)

A terrific tawny to serve lightly chilled, along with being utterly delicious on its own, it’s the perfect companion with Christmas pudding. Toffee, caramel, sweet fruits and nutty nuances flood the palate with a backdrop of mellow oak and soft spice bearing comfort and joy.

4. Specially Selected French Brandy XO, France, £16.49 (70cl), Aldi

Specially Selected French Brandy XO, Aldi
Specially Selected French Brandy XO, Aldi (Aldi/PA)

Cognac and Christmas go hand-in-hand, especially when it’s time to flame the pud. Rich and complex, this amber beauty offers vanilla and oak aromas with smooth, warming layers of ripe fruits, honeyed notes, with hints of dates and figs. Extremely generous, and great value.

5. M&S Collection Late Bottled Vintage Port 2017, Douro Valley, Portugal, £16 (75cl), Marks & Spencer, in-store

M&S Collection Late Bottled Vintage Port 2017, Douro Valley, Portugal, Ocado
M&S Collection Late Bottled Vintage Port 2017, Douro Valley, Portugal, Ocado (Marks & Spencer/PA)

Port comes into its own this time of year, and this delectable LBV is a one-stop-shop for a port to go with strong cheeses and dark chocolate desserts. With a perfumed bouquet of black cherries, cassis and blackcurrants, rich forest fruits marry warmth with sweetness on the lingering finish – and will maintain its elegance for up to three months once opened.

6. Berry Bros & Rudd Sauternes 2017 by Château Suduiraut, Bordeaux, France, £19.25 (37.5cl), Bbr.com

Berry Bros & Rudd Sauternes 2017 by Chateau Suduiraut, Bordeaux, Bbr.com
Berry Bros & Rudd Sauternes 2017 by Chateau Suduiraut, Bordeaux, Bbr.com

Pure nectar, this heavenly French dessert wine can be savoured on its own, or paired with fruit tarts such as apricot or duck liver parfait. With luscious flavours of apricots, honey, orange blossom and exotic candied fruits, harmonious citrusy acidity keeps everything in check. Serve chilled in your prettiest crystal and this golden elixir will bring smiles all round.

7. Tesco VSOP Cognac, France, £24.25 (70cl), Tesco

Tesco VSOP Cognac, France, Tesco
Tesco VSOP Cognac, France, Tesco (Tesco/PA)

A rich, mellow cognac and fireside sip, this after-dinner digestif will complement blue cheeses, crème brûlée, or festive bread and butter pudding for the final flourish. Impressive from word go, notes of vanilla, blossom, dried apricot, pear drops and oak lead to smooth flavours of dried fruits, baking spice and toasty oak through the long, lingering finish. A joyous glass.