Here lies a crossroads at the end of any dinner: dessert or no dessert?
On one hand, there’s a special appeal to unbuckling the top of your jeans and digging into a sundae. On the other, there’s appeal to leaving the dinner table without feeling like your stomach is going to explode all over the fine china. There is, however, a path less taken: dessert cocktails. Sweet as pie and easier to stomach, these cocktails let you have your cake and drink it too.
1. Red Velvet Cake Martini
Let’s start with dessert royalty, the Red Velvet Cake. As one of the reigning queens of sweets, your Highness is packed with decadent intensity. This martini uses Crème de Cacao to mimic the richness of the cake and grenadine to achieve the iconic color. Rounding out the drink is Grand Marnier, Frangelico and vodka. Don’t forget the white chocolate rim. Get the recipe.
2. Berry-Prosecco Ice Cream Floats
Is Red Velvet too over-the-top complicated? Here’s a lighter, simpler cocktail to satisfy your sweet tooth. Like the ice cream floats from childhood, this version will invoke memories while giving a boozy kick. Skip the cola and pour dry prosecco over ice cream and berries. Tip: There’s no need to stick to vanilla, strawberries and blueberries. This recipe can be adapted with seasonal ingredients and other ice cream flavors. Get the recipe.
3. Caramel Apple Martini
Caramel apple? Yes, please! A festival favorite gets the cocktail treatment in this recipe. Combine caramel flavored vodka, apple cider and butterscotch for this sweet libation. As for the rim, choose between cinnamon, a fresh apple or—why not?—more caramel. Get the recipe.
4. Kicked-up Coffee Granita with Baileys and Kahlúa
Coffee after dinner has always been common practice. Time to throw in some sweet liqueurs for an indulgent meal-finisher that’s light on booze. Vanilla bean, Kahlúa, Baileys and half-and-half join forces with coffee for a luxurious frozen cocktail. Get the recipe.
5. Brown-Sugar Snap Swizzle
If you’d like to get your sweet on without heavy cream and overwhelmingly rich flavors, this drink is for you. This cocktail uses ginger liqueur, brown sugar and sparkling wine. Featuring a taste of gingerbread in every sip, this cocktail would be great for holidays or any time you’re feeling festive. Get the recipe.
6. Tiramisu Cocktail
Tiramisu is a dessert lover’s dream. With bits of coffee, cream, chocolate, ladyfinger layers, there’s “caketail” is no different. The Tiramisu cocktail uses Amaretto, two chocolate liqueurs, and coffee extract to mimic the decadent flavors of the dessert staple. Get the recipe.
7. S’mores Pudding Shots
Sometimes a little can go a long way and these s’more pudding shots are no exception. Armed with chocolate pudding, marshmallow, vodka (if you’re not a friend of vodka, bourbon or cognac should work just fine) and ending with a graham cracker crunch, these little shooters are perfect for dinner guests that just can’t bring themselves to lift the fork after the main course. No campfire required. Get the recipe.