The Digestif: Bushmills Whiskey and Frangelico

by Pamela

digestif, after dinner drinks, Frangelico, Bushmills Whiskey

Having traveled quite a bit to Europe, I have picked up a few habits along the way (I would say that most of them have been of the good kind).  One of my favorites, that I wish would become more popular here in America, is the tradition of the the digestif (or after dinner drink).

The digestif, as its name would suggest, is an alcoholic libation that was created to help settle your stomach and to assist in the digestion of the meal you just consumed.  That’s why many of these digestifs are made from herbs and spices that you would normally associate with helping to settle the stomach.  Herbs and spices such as fennel seeds, lemon rind, clove, cardamom and orange peel.  And yes, that Jäger bomb you so enjoyed (most times to the point of hurling) was originally created as a digestif…not as a fraternity right of passage.  (Australia has a less alcoholic, and very refreshing, digestif called lemon lime bitters.)

I’m not really sure why the concept of the after dinner drink hasn’t really caught on here in the US.  Sure, lingering over dinner and drinks is a civilized ritual that we Americans partake in on a regular basis (and the shoveling in of a burger and fries at your local drive through is not what I’m referring to here…besides, I defy you to tell me that even a beer tastes good with a Big Mac – that sandwich was created specifically to sell sodas…but I digress).  Maybe because many Europeans use the ritual of the meal as a way to converse and build better relationships with friends and family and it’s not treated as an activity like it is here in the states.

Of course, many a restaurant here is also guilty of the concept of “turning the tables.”  You are a cursed customer if you spend longer than than the “optimal” time taking up valuable real estate at many restaurants.  Ever feel like you’re being hurried during your dinner?  You are.  Taking part in a digestif keeps you sitting at that table even longer.  Of course, if restauranteurs were to look at it from a different perspective….a little more liquor in the bellies of patrons might make them a bit more generous with what they spend at your restaurant and tip their waiter/waitress a bit more.  (That part was just my two cents.)

Recently, I enjoyed a nice dinner with Craig and a good friend of ours that we don’t see nearly enough.  We had the usual drinks, appetizers and dinner, but then decided that an after dinner drink was far more welcomed than a big heavy dessert (we had already had plenty to eat).  The decision was made to have a Frangelico and Bushmills Whiskey.  Not in separate glasses, but all together in one glass.  We all decided, right then and there, that this concoction was the sole reason drinking glasses had been invented.  (Far more civilized to drink a Frangelico and Bushmills Whiskey from a glass rather than out of cupped hands.  Besides, you wouldn’t want to lose a drop of this golden elixir.)

Relationship Advice

Woo Hoo!  It’s finally the weekend!  It’s time to rock out with your c*ck out!  Well, figuratively anyway.  Unless you’re a frat boy from USC and you literally rock out with your junk out on a rooftop with hundreds of people looking on (I’m sure his mother is so proud.).

Not feeling like your horny college self anymore?  Sure, we’ve all got responsibilities and busy schedules but you mean you’re not feeling it in another way?  Let’s take a quick look at that libido of yours.

Are you eating too much white bread?  No, that’s not a euphemism, it’s a direct question.  The British dietetic association has noted that white bread (and other refined carbohydrates) releases sugar into the blood stream quickly, so you get a kind of sugar high then crash.  Leaving you without the energy to have sex.  Eating too many refined carbs has also been shown to cause weight gain, which raises levels of estrogen in both men and women and leaving lower levels of testosterone which leads to lower libido.  Not to mention that weight gain makes you feel unattractive and not want to have sex.  (Are you seeing the vicious circle here?)

While we’re talking about food and libido, another culprit is iron deficiency.  Low iron levels in the blood leads to low energy levels.  Who wants to get it on when they’re ready to fall asleep?  Foods like red meat contain easily absorbable iron.  Red meat also helps to release amino acids that are natural mood elevators.  Of course, there are other lots of good non-red meat sources of iron as well.

So if you’re not “feeling it,” take a look at your diet before you start looking to take pills to enhance your libido.  It might be something as simple as replacing something in your diet to turn you back into the wild woman you once were.


Recipe: Frangelico and Bushmills Whiskey Digestif


  • 1 Part Frangelico
  • 1 Part Bushmills Whiskey


  1. Pour Frangelico and Bushmills Whiskey into brandy snifter or cordial glass.
  2. Stir lightly to combine.
  3. Serve.

Cooking time (duration): 5 Minutes

Number of servings (yield): 1

Meal type: cocktail

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


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Rene Lynch July 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Pamela! I have been wanting to make this forever. I bought Frangelico today. I do not have Bushmills (I couldn’t bring myself to shell out dough for TWO liquors) but I am planning to combine with Jack Daniels. Because….everything is better with J.D. Will report back.

Michael Massimino April 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

That sounds devine, I’ll be certain to put that in the rotation. We normally partake in a home stewed fennel digestif, it really does help after a big meal

My Man's Belly April 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm

That stewed fennel digestif sounds wonderful. Love fennel. Care to share the recipe?

Brian @ A Thought For Food April 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

After dinner, before dinner… i’ll enjoy one any time really 🙂

Jordan April 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

Nice piece on digestifs, especially the point about how one can buy a little more time at the table when a round of “night caps” is ordered. Nothing pleases a waiter more than another set of drinks and the tummy may be just as happy. -@GirlWalksIn2Bar

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