Feature

Unusual liqueurs to put under the tree

What, you may wonder,

What, you may wonder, “does a walnut liqueur from Austria taste like?” said Leslie Brenner in the Los Angeles Times. Or a well-aged herbal after-dinner drink made by monks in the French Alps? We tried dozens of unusual aperitifs and postprandials in various price ranges, and recommend the following as perfect gifts.

Famille Adrien Camut Pommeau du Domaine de Semainville ($39) The Normandy region of France is well known for its Calvados, distilled from apples. Less familiar is pommeau, made from apple juice mixed with Calvados. This golden aperitif is “terrific to drink chilled before dinner.”n Chartreuse VEP (Yellow) ($113 for 1.5 liter) “This is the stuff,” made by Carthusian monks in the French Alps since 1737. VEP stands for vieillissement exceptionnellement prolongé, or very well aged. A “spectacular,” herbal after-dinner drink.

Nux Alpina ($29 for 375 ml) This sophisticated walnut liqueur from the Austrian Alps has “a deep flavor that’s almost woodsy and not very sweet.”

Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot ($23) “Luscious” but not cloying, this drink is ideal for “sipping long into a winter evening.”

Carpano Antica Formula ($27 for 1 liter) This Italian sweet vermouth has been produced since before the French Revolution. More complex than Cinzano, it tastes of wild herbs and licorice root, and is superb chilled or on the rocks. Each bottle is individually numbered.Prunier La Lieutenance Liqueur d’Orange ($21) “A natural for cocktails, it’s also terrific to sip on its own.” Fans of Grand Marnier and Cointreau may want to rethink the house orange liqueur.

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