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