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Liqueurs and Aperitifs

The roll call of bon viveurs who have had drinks named after them makes interesting reading encompassing such diverse drinkers as Harvey Wallbanger (a Los Angeles-based surfer), Mary Pickford (the silent movie star), Beau Brummel (metropolitan dandy) and Charlie Chaplin. Few can eclipse the Catholic priest, Resistance fighter and popular former mayor of Dijon, Canon Félix Kir. His aperitif de choix consisted of 1 part Crème de Cassis mixed with 5 parts of chilled Bourgogne Aligoté and he championed it in the local bars and bistros to such an extent that it became widely known as un Kir and remains extremely popular to boot. Whether or not he insisted on the Cassis being that of Gabriel Boudier is not documented but, if he had wanted the best, he probably did.

The entire range of Boudier liqueurs are unimpeachable and are made with the finest fruit and utmost attention. All lend themselves well to being served as a cocktail base for still or sparkling wines or to spruce-up fruit-based desserts. So whether you fancy paying homage to the Canon or branching out with Framboises (raspberry), Fraises des Bois (wild strawberry), Pêches (peach), or Mûres Sauvages (wild blackberry) you'll be in safest of hands.

Pineau de Charentes is an uplifting admixture of Cognac and grape juice that is traditionally served as a pick-me-up often with (and indeed in) the local Charentais melons. The Gardrat family's Réserve bottling is matured in wooden barrels and has a darker colour and autumnal flavours that lend it well to being served as post-prandial digestif.

Floc de Gascogne is a broadly similar concept but favours Armagnac rather than Cognac. The Château de Millet version is made with a base of Merlot alongside a number of other red grapes so has a deep, tawny colour and fabulous red fruit flavours.

Ratafia Champenois is made from grape juice fortified with Champagne brandy and was renowned for being stable on sea voyages so was (unsurprisingly) popular with the sailing community. Landlubbers can enjoy it too – perhaps by the fireside after an autumnal walk in the countryside.

Julian Temperley's 'Kingston Black Aperitif ' is made with juice from heritage apples and Somerset cider brandy. It should be served well-chilled as a palate-cleanser or partner to apple pie.

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  1. Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015
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