Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Apple Brandy Cocktails for Autumn

Calvados, the great aged cider brandy from Lower Normandy, is sometimes served in the middle of a meal to re-awaken the appetite, and I can see why. Complex and refined yet still bright with apple, the aroma alone makes me hungry. It calls to mind all the tasty thing apples go well with, like salty cheese, honey, legumes, cabbage, herbs, root vegetables, caramel. I definitely see some pairings in my future, but for now, here’s a couple of drinks before dinner.

Cocktail, stemmed glass, late afternoon garden, stone patio, moss

The Butterfly and the Bee
  • 1 1/2 oz calvados
  • 1/2 oz ginger liqueur (Domaine de Canton)
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 dashes lavender bitters
Shake with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

The apple-lavender combination is intense and complex, amplified by brightness of the lemon and ginger. Orchard and field. Last breath of summer.

Cocktail, stemmed glass, sunlit garden, stone walk

On a Lark
  • 1 oz calvados
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Averna
  • 1 scant pinch fine sea salt
Stir salt in vermouth until dissolved, then add remaining ingredients and cracked ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

More autumnal than the previous one. White wine and herbs from the vermouth bring out crispness in the apple and add savory notes. Subtle caramel from the Averna. The salt heightens everything and helps bring it together.

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