This sweetly intense comfort cocktail is pretty potent, and somewhat mysterious with its dark color. Serve it as a welcoming drink as guests arrive, or wait till after dinner, and offer it with dessert.

Dense flavors mix in this issue’s comfort cocktail, designed to go with my party plan for Comfort, which includes a pasta bar setup. The deep brown color of the mix adds to its presence, and totally qualifies it as being in the comfort zone.


[1] BLANDY’S 5-year-old Bual Madiera This wonderfully aged madeira, starts with the fermentating of Bual grapes in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After about three days, it gets fortified with grape brandy, then the the traditional Canteiro System of aging begins. The wine is placed in American oak casks and gently heated up in lofts. Over the years the wine is transferred down floor to floor to the ground floor where it is cooler. The flavors that develop make for a wonderful after-dinner drink, matching perfectly with fruit, milk chocolate, cakes and hard cheeses.

Blandy’s does not require decanting, and will keep for several months after opening. TASTING NOTES: Clear, amber color with tinges of gold; a bouquet of dried fruit, vanilla, wood and toffee with a smooth, medium-sweet finish and an excellent balance between the fruit and acidity.

[2] Fentiman’s Dandelion & Burdock This traditional English soda is an herbal sensation made with infusions of dandelion leaves and burdock root, sweetened with pear juice and spiced with a touch of ginger and anise. In the cocktail it balances the sweet notes of the madeira.

[3] Fee Brothers Plum Bitters is a fruity blend of plum and spices, reminiscent of the flavor of British plum pudding.

See more ideas for throwing a laid-back affair in 11 Comfort Pasta