Gin’s out, whisky’s old hat and no one ever ordered cognac in a bar anyway. Calvados is the new drink du jour - here's why
The eponymous drink of the Calvados region in Normandy doesn't exactly conjure up trendy drinking. But it's so now. Here's everything you need to know … from how to drink it to what to cook with it.
So calvados. What's that again?
An apple brandy. But not any apple brandy. Calvados has to be made in Calvados, Normandy, northern France ... a bit like champagne has to come from the Champagne region.
It's basically booze in the buff ...
And by that we mean calvados is entirely natural: no additives, no yeast, no fertilisers. Brill.
What does it taste like?
Strong (it’s about 40% proof), but pleasantly so. Flavour profiles vary but you'll usually get crisp apple, bittersweet caramel, vanilla, apricot and other stone fruits. Good ones have a rounded flavour which means they warm instead of burn ... just smelling them is an intoxicating experience.
So what's the difference between calvados and brandy?
Calvados is made with apples (and sometimes pears) while brandy is made with grapes. Not a lot of people know that, you know.
And when do you drink it?
Calvados is traditionally an apéritif but a shot with tonic or cloudy apple juice (the so called applejack) will get you firing on all cylinders. It's also delicious paired with food such as pork belly and apple sauce, a caramelised tarte tatin, or gooey baked camembert. Lush.
And you can cook with it too ...
So which one to buy?
The main expressions are: VSOP, aged for two years: XO (that's XO not OXO!), aged for six and 12 year old aged for ... that's right clever clogs. It sounds like we're getting all serious here but these categories are the same for brandy and armagnac ... remember them and you'll sound like a pro.
Of course different producers, as well as the ageing, affects the flavour of the calvados but Pere Magloire is one of the most celebrated.
Coughing up time. But how much?
For a VSOP you're looking at £30-£32, XO a pricey sum of £60-£65 and for a 12-year-old, £50-£55. Yikes. That said, the golden nectar is strong stuff so a little is just enough.
Need an excuse?
Well it's National Calvados Week 18-24 October and National Apple Day on the 21 October. Plus, it's starting to get cold and this stuff is a very merry way to warm up ... better than a moth-eaten jumper anyway.
Time to get cooking!
Rarely has food looked so good. And as there's xalvados in them all too, we're guessing they taste darn delicious ...
Liked this? Then try these:
- Watch: this video shows you how to toast your drinks properly in 8 countries
- Boost your spirits: how to make 5 flavoured liqueurs
- Famous vintages: rise of the celebrity winemakers
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