Host Guide: Holiday Spirits: After-Dinner Delights
Darroze Domaine Saint Aubin 1967 Bas-Armagnac
If you prefer a great Armagnac—named for the appellation in the southwest of France—to cognac for its earthier, peppery taste, this is the one to pour. It can be difficult to find, because the Domaine de Saint Aubin closed in 1982 and now grows corn. The Bas-Armagnacs of Darroze are not cut with water, but hand-drawn and bottled directly from the cask.
Coeur De Lion Pays D’auge V.S.O.P. Calvados
Double distilled from the pressings of apples grown on the Coeur de Lion estate in Normandy, this Calvados is aged for as long as 15 years in sherry and port casks and bottled in a blend of younger brandies and the dark, golden-hued older spirit. It is very dry; the apple flavors are muted and give way to herbal, woody notes at the finish.
Etter Fruit Tree Jubilee Five-Fruit Eau-De-Vie
Since 1846, the Etter family of Switzerland has been making the finest fruit liqueurs, especially its kirschwasser, or kirsch, made from Zug-grown cherries. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Etter began formulating this delicious combination of kirsch, William pears, apples, grape spirits, and strawberries. You will be tempted to pour it over ice cream, but it is best in a glass.
Château Montifaud Maurice Valley Cognac, 1904
This small family vineyard in the Champagne region of France uses only its own grapes in its prize-winning cognacs. Distilled in 1904, this rare vintage, with only six bottles available in the U.S. and 80 in France, delivers dried flowers and tea flavors in a dark amber liqueur for an exceedingly smooth and fruity finish.