There comes a time of the year when the temperature drops and we spend a little more time indoors than usual. Friends pop over for dinner and we eat something delicious together by the warming fire. Lately, instead of offering a coffee at the end of the meal we pull out a liqueur or spirit, something to warm the body while the conversation continues well into the night. This particular one, the original Nocello by Toschi, is an old Italian classic and a favourite.

For those who typically avoid the marzipan notes in Amaretto, perhaps Nocello is the right alternative to consider. Pour a little into a small glass and the viscous amber-coloured liquid will invite you with aromas of walnuts, hazelnuts and a hint of vanilla. It is unquestionably sweet and 24% is the right amount of warming alcohol, but this is the perfect antidote to the cold. There is a little bitterness in the finish like the taste of a walnut skin, but the overriding sensation is delicately nutty and sweet. Drink it neat in winter by a cosy fire and watch the night roll on.

Alternatives to try for the sweet nutty tooth: Le Birlou French liqueur (apples and hazelnuts) and Vincenzi Amaretto (almonds)

Stockists: Boccaccio Cellars, North Balwyn

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