Focus On: Calvados

What is Calvados?

Calvados is cider from Normandy that is distilled into brandy. It can be made from both apples and pears.

There are more than 100 varieties of apples and pears that can be used to make Calvados. Calvados must be matured in oak casks. The minimum amount of aging varies. Calvados can only be made in Normandy, France. Calvados can be distilled in both column and pot stills. Some undergo double distillation.

Types of Calvados

There are three designations of origin for Calvados production, which legally protect the methods and quality of the spirits by enforcing a set of rules unique to each region. These are known as appellations d’origine controlee (AOC).

The largest appellation. The majority of Calvados here undergoes single distillation, but must be matured for in oak casks for at least two years. Calvados made in this AOC may contain a maximum of 30% pears, and must be distilled in a column still. It must be matured for at least two years in oak casks. Calvados from this AOC must contain at least 30% pears and must be distilled in a column still. It is required to be matured for at least three years in oak casks.

What does Calvados taste like?

Predominantly Calvados tastes of apple and pears, but often offers notes of apricot, baking spices, sweet pastries and flowers.

How can you drink Calvados?

Calvados can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif, over ice, served long with tonic or paired with foods such as cheese. It can also be used to make a number of fruity cocktails.

Calvados Cocktails

  • Autumn Leaves

    30ml rye whiskey
    30ml Calvados
    7.5ml Liquore strega
    Angostura bitters
    Stir together, strain

  • Apple Blossom

    60ml dry gin
    30ml orange juice
    7.5ml Calvados
    5ml sugar syrup
    Shake and strain

  • 75 Cocktail

    40ml dry gin
    20ml Calvados
    5ml lemon juice
    7.5ml grenadine syrup
    Shake and strain

  • Orchard Crush

    1 spoon damson jam
    60ml Calvados
    30ml lemon juice
    7.5ml sugar syrup
    Shake and strain

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