Calvados Brandy

Calvados is distilled from specially grown and selected apples, of which there are over 200 named varieties. It is not uncommon for a Calvados producer to use over 100 specific varieties of apple to produce their Calvados. The apples used are either sweet (such as the Rouge Duret variety), tart (such as the Rambault variety), or bitter (such as the Mettais, Saint Martin, Frequin, and Binet Rouge varieties), with the latter category of apple being inedible. The reason the bitter apples are used is that if all sweet apples were used the resulting liquor would be too sweet, like apple jack. A typical Calvados recipe might include 30% sweet apples, 40% tart apples, and 30% bitter apples; another recipe might include 40% sweet, 20% tart, and 40% bitter.

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The fruit is picked (usually by hand) and pressed into a juice that is fermented into a dry cider. Sometimes perry is added to the cider for a distinctive flavour. The resulting liquid is then distilled into eau de vie. After two years aging in oak casks, it can be sold as Calvados. The longer it is aged, the smoother the drink becomes. Usually the maturation goes on for several years. A half-bottle of twenty-year-old Calvados can easily command the same price as a full bottle of ten-year-old Calvados.




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