Bringing out the best after-dinner drinks for guests

23-03-2012
 
Do you crack open an expensive whisky for guests or keep it to yourself?
 
Being faced with matching food and wine for a dinner party can be a challenge, so serving after-dinner drinks can be a much more fun part of the evening.
 
With no food left to serve, there is an array of choice, from whisky to brandy and liqueurs. And the great thing at this stage in the night is that guests can choose their favourite tipple whereas before they are forced to drink what you serve!
 
Stocking a few staple after-dinner drinks is a must for any dinner party host. A bottle of branded drinks like Bailey's Irish cream, Italian liqueur Disaronno and coffee liqueur Tia Maria are good places to start and will likely be snapped up by the female guests.
 
A good quality brandy or cognac will go down much better than a cheap brand with the guests and the same goes for whisky, where spending that bit more on a bottle pays off.
 
Another great way to build up an interesting drinks cabinet is to bring bottles back from holiday. Any trip to Portugal gives you an excuse to bring back a quality bottle of port, while many countries have their drink unique to them. For example, Madeira produces interesting passion fruit liquor and it is additions like these that can create real talking points after dinner.
 
However, when you open up your drinks cabinet to your guests, are you obliged to serve everything in there? How about that bottle of whisky that you know sells for a lot of money per dram in restaurants?
 
Last week, the world's most expensive bottle of whisky was sold at auction. A 55-year-old bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve, one of just 11 in the world, fetched a record-breaking £59,350 at a New York event held to mark the distillery's 125th anniversary.
 
Not to say that everyone has a £60,000-worth bottle of whisky in their drinks cabinet, but it is quite possible that whisky drinkers have one that in top restaurants a dram would cost £50 a time and they are not so willing to pour out its precious contents.
 
Are these beloved bottles meant to be enjoyed with friends or to keep to yourself? Some might say that part of their worth is down to the pleasure that can be got out of them and sharing tasting notes with friends around the dinner table or lounge can be hugely enjoyable.
 
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