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Total flexibility, no commitment

A world of unique, crafted gins

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Total flexibility, no commitment

A world of unique, crafted gins

Easy, free and reliable delivery

Total flexibility, no commitment

A world of unique, crafted gins

Easy, free and reliable delivery

Discover why Calvados and gin are a match made in heaven!

Discover why Calvados and gin are a match made in heaven!

Mar 9, 2022

You may not have thought of pairing gin with the traditional French spirit Calvados, but trust us when we say this is one dreamy duo. And we’re predicting big things for this delicious combination…

So, here’s everything you need to know about Calvados: what Calvados is, where it’s made, how to serve it, and we’ll also be looking at what makes one of our favourite brands so special (spoiler: their work to help save the bees is simply remarkable!).

Anyone who was lucky enough to attend Craft Gin Club’s fun Countdown to Christmas Cocktail Masterclass event in November 2021 will already know just how delicious this gorgeous tipple is!

So, without further ado, scroll down to discover this brilliant tipple!

What kind of drink is Calvados?

Calvados is an alcoholic spirit made from apples. It is made in the region of Normandy, in the north of France. Like Champagne, Calvados is protected by name (something called the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée or AOC), meaning it HAS to be produced in Normandy in order to be called ‘Calvados’. This is intended to ensure that the quality and status of these beautiful apple brandies are maintained and not undermined by poorer quality knock-offs!

What is the difference between Calvados and brandy?

Calvados is an apple brandy. The term brandy refers to an alcoholic liquid distilled from wine or fruit. Calvados is distilled from juiced and fermented apples, making it an apple brandy.

Is Calvados made from apples or pears?

Calvados is traditionally made from apples. Distillers can use over 100 varieties of apple to make their Calvados, carefully selecting specific varieties for their sweet, tart or bitter flavour profiles depending on how they want the finished product to taste.

However, some Calvados recipes can include pears, which are sometimes used to add complexity to the orchard-fruit palate of the Calvados.

Apples from Normandy to make Calvados

Does Calvados taste like apples?

Yes, young Calvados can indeed taste like apples, while more matured Calvados have a lot of dried fruit and spice flavours. However, that is a very short answer. Just like apples, one Calvados can taste very different from another. It all depends on the varieties of apples, the distillation process and the maturation selections that each individual distiller choose to make their Calvados.

Some can lean more toward the sweeter, caramel-like side of the palate. Others can be tart and even slightly bitter. Some can have subtle hints of spice and floral notes, and they can have rich dried fruit aromas.

The best thing to do is get out there and taste some different types of Calvados to find your favourites. We recommend starting with one of our favourites: Avallen!

What does Avallen taste like?

Avallen has a unique blend of apple, honeysuckle, toffee and vanilla custard flavours that make it a treat for the taste buds.

It’s made from 40 varieties of apple grown on 300 different orchards around Normandy. You’ll find no added sugars or artificial flavours, (or as they like to say ‘made from nothing but apples, water and time!) - which is why it’s the perfect partner to the complex juniper profile of craft gin. Yum!

What makes Avallen special?

This exciting brand is also revitalising the Calvados space, thanks to its unique production method and planet-friendly ethos.

The team at Avallen work hard to create a planet positive brand that removes 2.73kg of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere for every bottle produced.

What’s more, Avallen is also helping to save the bees. Not only is the company helping to raise awareness about why bees need to be saved but it’s also planting as many flowering plants as it can as well as donating 2% of its turnover to bee conservation charities as part of their membership of 1% for the Planet.

And that’s not all: “Avallen is also a proud B Corp and the recipient of the most prestigious environmental awards in the drinks industry, ” says Tim Etherington-Judge from Avallen Spirits.

Find out more about the amazing work Avallen does here.

How do you drink Calvados?

Because of its smooth, rich apple flavours, Calvados is often sipped neat in the evening and is commonly used as an after-dinner tipple.

Due to its fruity, appley flavour, Avallen is a great way to add complex apple flavours to gin cocktails and other serves like this Avallen & Tonic recipe:

Avallen & Tonic

The Angostura Bitters in this recipe add a touch of spice that works so well with the apple tones of the Calvados. The tonic then offers a delightfully effervescent base that’s subtly bitter and completely refreshing.

Gin and apple  mix

50ml Avallen Calvados
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters (optional)
Premium tonic water, to top

Combine your ingredients in a glass with lots of ice. Stir and garnish. Serve and enjoy!

Avallen Appletini

The deep richness of the gin’s juniper is the perfect complement to the syrupy delight of the Calvados in this cocktail recipe. The vanilla syrup then rounds out the experience and the touch of lemon gives it a wonderful touch of brightness.

Avallen Appletini

25ml Avallen Calvados
25ml gin (if you can find a gin from Normandy, that works well, but if not we recommend a floral London Dry like Hawkridge London Dry Victorian Garden)
15ml Vanilla Syrup
15ml fresh lemon juice
50ml apple juice

Combine your ingredients in shaker or stirring glass with lots ice and stir well. Strain into a glass. Garnish, serve and enjoy!

In partnership with Avallen.

Now check out these apple and gin recipes!