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Cocktails & Spirits


basic starter brandy for the novice


Cocktails & Spirits 16

basic starter brandy for the novice

BarmyFotheringayPhipps | Nov 15, 2007 09:07 PM

I noticed recently that the one particular hole in our well-stocked bar is brandy. Allstonian and I are doing our annual foodie trip across New Hampshire and Vermont this weekend, and one of the traditional stops is at one of the famed NH state liquor stores, so I thought I might pick something up there.

Thing is, neither of us knows much about grape brandy, although Allstonian's deep-seated fondness for all things eastern European means we have several fruit brandies of the style one of her exes memorably dubbed "fruit-based lighter fluid." But when it comes of grape brandy, we're coming into this fairly blind.

So I'm open to your suggestions. Style and region are unimportant at this point. Could be American, could be cognac, could be armagnac (which a teensy part of me has a slight silly preference for because one of my favorite songs is the Kinks' "Autumn Almanac," which works armagnac into a series of increasingly tortured rhymes for the title phrase), could be something else entirely.

Basically, what I'm looking for is something that I wouldn't mind having a little nip of either neat or in a cup of tea after coming in on a frigid New England winter night, but I also wouldn't consider a waste to use as flambee starter for a dessert. And ideally, I'm looking for something I can buy in a smallish bottle, since I may well be picking up a few possibilities over the next few months and my natural inclination is to buy the smallest available bottle of any liquor since Allstonian and I both tend to drink like girl scouts. Suggestions?

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