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Calvados, a French brandy, is typically derived from the most innocent of sources, apples. But beware: overindulge in this fruit-flavored spirit and you may be in for a whopping hangover.

The History of Calvados Apple Brandy

Calvados hails from the French region of Normandy and takes its name from the French area most notable for its production. Calvados, or as the locals would call it, “el calvados,” is a potent form of brandy made through a two-part process called “double distillation.” After distillation, the liquid is then aged in oak barrels for upwards of two years, resulting in a brandy with a nearly 40 percent alcohol content.

Calvados enjoys a long and rich history. Locals have been distilling liquor from cider in Normandy since at least the mid 1500s. Although the drink is most often made from apples, it can also be produced from pears.

Calvados apple brandy is not as popular in the United States as its high brow cousin, cognac. In fact, only about 200,000 bottles of calvados are sold in the U.S., compare each year, as compared to the 40 million bottles of cognac consumed.

How to Drink Calvados Apple Brandy

As with any specialty drink, there are several ways to get the most enjoyment from drinking Calvados. Some tips to keep in mind are:

  • An old Normandy tradition serves up Calvados between courses midway through a meal, as opposed to what we consider the more common before or after dinner drink.
  • Calvados can be consumed dry, on ice or as an ingredient in other drinks.
  • Traditional Normandy recipes add calvados and cream to pork and mussel dishes.

Recipes for Calvados Apple Brandy

There”s no need to take our word for the wonderful flavor of calvados. Taste the French apple brandy yourself with the following three recipes, one creamy and slightly decadent and the other two served up with a bit of zest.

Calvados Cream


  • 2 oz. Calvados brandy
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. egg white
  • 1 oz. double cream
  • 1 tsp. pineapple syrup.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a chilled glass.

Apple Car Recipe


  • 1 oz. Calvados apple brandy
  • oz. triple sec
  • oz. lemon juice.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake and strain into a glass.
  3. Garnish with a cherry, if desired, and serve.

Black and Fall Recipe


  • oz. cognac
  • oz. Calvados apple brandy
  • oz. orange liqueur
  • 2 dashes licorice liqueur.


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Stir, rather than shake, the mixture.
  3. Strain into a chilled glass and serve.
 Posted on : May 26, 2014