A digestif is a liquor that is usually served after a meal to help your digestion. That’s of course just superstition, you will be better off with some yoghurt. But having said that, I really enjoy a small schnaps glass with Grappa or Marc or whatever is the going there and then.
To me, a digestif is more than anything else distilled pomace like the famous Italian Grappa, but also the and French Marc. There is a lot of varieties and many of them are from a single grape so you can actually taste the difference. I prefer those colorless varieties without aging.
If you are an international traveller, here is a list of local digestifs worth trying. In Balcan it’s called Komovica; Cyprus Zivania; Marc in France as already mentioned, Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus has its Chacha; Tresterbrand in Germany; Tsipouro in Greece and Törköly in Hungary. In Romania they call it Rachiu de tescovina and across the border to Bulgaria you will find Grozdova nad in Macedonia it’s called Rakija which is, if nothing else, at least a somewhat familiar name. In Slovenia the liquid is called Tropinovec and in Albania Raki (not to be confused with Turkish Raki which is an anise liquor).
Going west to the Iberian peninsula Spain has its Orujo,especially in the northern and western part of the country. But if you ask for Aguardiente, they will of course deliver the goods. No problem. In Portugal it is Aguardente, and they will probably put the bottle on the table and ask you to be generous with yourself. Don’t worry about the cost, but try to be modest whatever they say. Going even further west to Peru and Chile it is called Pisco, and while you are there do not miss the Pisco Sour.
If you ask for Aguardente in Brazil you will get Cachaça which is made from sugar canes. Not the right stuff in other words, and definitely best used for Caipirinhas.
With the exception of the Brazilian Aguardente, they are all made from Pomace. But it does not stop here, because there are digestifs made from fruits which you should definitely try. While in
Germany you should try Apfelkorn, in Switzerland Kirsch and Poire William. The Kirsch is a must with fondue, by the way. Poire William is also very common in France.
Back to the Balcans their most famous liquor is Slivovitz or Slivovitsa made from plums. In Hungary my favorite is Vilmos (pronounced Vilmosh) made from pears.
if you are off to Normandy in France Calvados is a must. Goes well with their local cheese as well, as do a Scotch single malt whisky with Cheddar.
In my homeland Norway Aquavita rules, made from potatoes in case you did not know.
A digestif is not meant for any glass swirling, we leave that to the cognac drinkers. Digestif is downed in one or to sips. Done. And remember, oftentimes one is enough.