Now that I'll be picking up my new bottle of Calvados on the way home from work tonight, I've given some thought to making cocktails with it rather than simply drinking it neat. Don't get me wrong -- a snifter of Calvados after (or even during) dinner is absolutely superb. It seems to me, though, that the intense apple flavor and aroma of this magnificent brandy would lend itself wonderfully to a good cocktail recipe.

After my parents came back from their first trip to France several years ago they were raving about Calvados, the superb apple brandy made in Normandy. Dad told me about what became his favorite cocktail while on this trip, a simple mixture of Calvados and apple juice on the rocks. He wasn't sure of the proportions (I'd guess 3:1 or 4:1), but this seems to be perhaps the best way to drink this brandy if you're going to mix it. Also recommended is 1/3 Calvados and 2/3 tonic water, but I haven't tried that yet.

Oddly enough, I haven't been able to find any reference to the supposedly classic Calvados/apple juice cocktail on the web, although many Calvados makers produce a product called Pommeau de Normandie, which is a mixture of Calvados and apple juice that's aged anywhere from 1-3 years in oaken casks (and which sounds fabulous). I'll experiment more with the proportions in my on-the-spot mixture thereof, and let y'all know.

In the meantime, have a look at his recipe, which I found on the website of a Calvados distillery. This looks potentially tasty, although I'm not sure about the apricot brandy. Maybe with a good eau-de-vie rather than a cheap sweet liqueur-like apricot brandy (don't use Hiram Walker!) Perhaps I'll try it with some pear eau-de-vie as well.

3 ounces of Calvados
2 ounces apricot brandy (find some good stuff)
1 ounces lemon juice
1 thin slice of apple (brushed with lemon juice to prevent discoloration)
1 long thin piece of lemon peel

Pour the liquors and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker over cracked ice, shake until chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the slice of apple and lemon peel.

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Chuck Taggart   email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com