Sunday, December 05, 2004

Gourmet's Best Liquid Gift - December 2004

(compiled by James Rodewald)

Fuller's Vintage Ale 2004 ($10; 16.9 oz) - begs for a plate of roasted pork

Fantome de Noel ale ($10, 25.4 oz) - like spice cake in a bottle

Le Baladin Noel ale ($13, 25.4 oz) - a bit less sweet and less spicy, with a nice hoppiness

Germain-Robin V200 Single-Barrel Brandy ($150) - made from Pinot Noir grapes and diluted to 81.2 proof with a filtered rainwater, has incredible balance and warmth

Grand Marnier Cuvee du Centenaire ($115) - a more intense and less sweet version of the classic orange liquer

Pyrat XO Reserve rum ($20) - starts out with citrus and spice and finishes smooth and slightly sugary

Ridgemont Reserve 1792 ($28) - has a restrained elegance missing in many small-batch bourbons, perhaps because it has more rye and malted barley than most

Wyborowa Single Estate vodka ($30) - tastes as clean and elegant as it looks in its Frank Gehry-designed bottle.

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