Calvados is an apple brandy made in Normandy that is famous for its distinct flavor and its precise cultivation. Besides enjoying Calvados by itself, you can also use it to craft cold cocktails and to create elegant food pairings. Learning to drink Calvados is bound to be rewarding and fun for anyone who loves apples, brandy, or unique tasting experiences.
Method 1 of 3:Drinking Calvados Plain
1Try a shot of Calvados by itself. Open a bottle of room temperature Calvados and pour two ounces into a glass. Take a small sip and allow the Calvados to roll over your tongue. Pay attention to its flavor while it is in your mouth instead of quickly swallowing it.
Calvados is typically served in a traditional balloon glass. Try to drink it in tulip shaped glassware that curves slightly inward at the top.
When tasting Calvados, try to notice how the fruit forward, sweet flavors balance mellower flavors. See if you can taste bright, acidic flavors like fresh pears or subtle, smooth flavors like cinnamon, vanilla, or oak. Try and describe the flavors that you can identify.
2Enjoy a glass of Calvados before or after dinner. Many people drink Calvados as an aperitif. Similarly, others drink Calvados after a meal to aid digestion. Experiment with both options to see what works for you. You can also drink a glass of Calvados to cleanse your palate between courses.
3Experiment by adding ice. If the apple brandy overwhelms your palate, you can dilute the flavor with a cube or two of ice. If the flavor of the Calvados remains strong, continue to adjust accordingly.
Method 2 of 3:Making Cold Calvados Cocktails
1Reinvent an Old Fashioned by adding Calvados. Pour 2 ounces of Calvados and half an ounce of simple syrup into a mixing glass. Add a dash of Angostura bitters. Serve in a cocktail glass over ice. Garnish with a twist of orange or lemon peel.
When twisting your citrus peel, be sure to twist the garnish over the surface of the drink so that the oils from the citrus spritz into your cocktail.
2Craft a Calvados Sidecar. Rim a cocktail glass with equal parts cinnamon and sugar. Pour 1 ounce of Calvados, 1 ounce of orange liqueur, and 1 ounce of lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, shake it vigorously, and strain the liquid into the glass. Garnish with an orange or lemon peel.
To rim the cocktail glass, wipe a lemon wedge against the rim of your glass. Carefully dip the moist rim into your cinnamon sugar mixture. Try to coat the rim evenly.
3Mix ginger beer and Calvados for an easy summertime cocktail. Pour half an ounce of Calvados and 4 ounces of ginger beer into a tall glass. Add ice and a dash of Angostura bitters. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
Method 3 of 3:Pairing Calvados with Food
1Combine Calvados with sorbet for a traditional French treat. Place a scoop of apple sorbet into a bowl. Pour two ounces of Calvados over the sorbet. In Normandy, this dish is eaten as a palate cleanser after or during a meal.
2Pair Calvados with a cheese board for a decadent appetizer. Try your Calvados alongside rich blue cheese, brie, and other soft cheeses. The creaminess of soft cheeses should accentuate the fruity notes of the brandy.
3Enjoy a glass of Calvados with a simple fruit plate. Apple brandy acts as an elegant complement to a variety of fresh fruits. Peaches, pears, apricots, prunes, and grapes pair well with Calvados.
Of course, apple brandy also pairs well with an assortment of fresh apples.