Ethan, some of my moderately priced favorites are Beefeater and Bombay gins, Mt. Gay and Myers's rums, and Courvossier and Remy-Martin cognacs. I don't like any vodkas except, rarely, the flavored Stolicnaya's.
Self-Styled Whisky Connoisseur
I'll throw in Spanish brandy into the suggestion bin.
"Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."
I tried heated Spanish brandy once, it was very tasty.
Another rum just came to mind -- St. James from Martinique. It's a brown rum that was Hemingway's favorite. It's not bad, and it's not very expensive, as I recall. A former girlfriend also invented a tasty cocktail with it -- St. James, pineapple juice, and Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) on ice. I named it the Mary Amberley. Kudos to anyone who gets the reference.
I FINALLY got my bottle of Laird's Apple Brandy BIB and popped it open and I really enjoyed it. It was like a wheated bourbon with a hint of apple. I think this stuff would be perfect with a splash of Apple juice or really good in warm spiced apple cider. For $20, it's probably going to stay on my shelf. Now that I have an idea of what brandies are like, I may venture out and get some peach or blackberry brandies to see what they're like!
Michter's Distillery, Inc. DSP-PA-17 Schaefferstown, PA.
Until Wednesday Feb. 14th, 1990, Michter's was "The whiskey that warmed the revolution."