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Whiskey and brandy for chilly, or warm, spring nights

Boulard Calvados Pays d'Auge VSOP, from Normandy, can

Boulard Calvados Pays d'Auge VSOP, from Normandy, can be enjoyed as an aperitif or digestif. Credit: Boulard Calvados

There are evenings when you might not think spring is here. For the chillier nights, there are some easy-drinking, very warming choices. And if the heat does kick in, a couple of them are pretty good with ice, too.

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey ($40) is a smooth choice, with notes of dried fruit, raisin, honey, spice, a little lemongrass and a hint of pepper at the finish. The craft distillery from Wicklow has made a fine sipper, which spent years in American oak barrels and sherry casks. Drink it neat.

From Normandy comes the bracing, amber gold Boulard Calvados Pays d’Auge VSOP ($40 to $45). A spirited expression of ripe apple distilled from apple cider in a copper “pot still.” Calvados is versatile. You can enjoy the brandy as an aperitif or a digestif. A “trou Normand,” or Norman hole, is the name given to the shot of Calvados traditionally taken between courses of a very large meal. The idea is to revive your appetite.

There’s a distinctive coppery, amber hue to the Lepanto OV Brandy de Jerez ($69), an oloroso Viejo beauty that delivers suggestions of spice and nuts. It has aged 15 years in barrels, including three in those of oloroso, or medium-dry, sherry. The result is lush and attractive, excellent on its own in a brandy glass. This Lepanto also can be served over ice.

Gonzalez Byass Soberano Brandy ($25) is a less-complicated affair, deep amber in color, offering traces of raisin in the aroma. It’s good either neat or with ice.

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