This post comes to us courtesy of writer and mixologist Warren Bobrow.
I love apple brandy. As a boy, I spent a lot of time in France; my parents, world travelers, would always take me with them to far-flung places. One of these places was the Basse-Normandie region of France, known for fabulous apples. And what do you make with apples? Calvados!
Calvados is, quite simply, apple fire in a glass. The French have a way with fruit-driven spirits enhanced by alcohol. Calvados is also known as an “eau de vie de cidre.” I know it as a fall and winter warmer.
The first time I tasted Calvados, I was twelve or thirteen years old. I will always remember the complexity of the fruit, the heat from the ever-present alcohol and how it didn’t taste like hard cider. Since I grew up on a farm with extensive apple orchards, I’d tasted hard cider before. Calvados is powerful, yes … but hard cider it is not. Calvados is aged for a minimum of two years in oak barrels. The older it gets while aging, the smoother it becomes. Don’t think for a second, though, that smoothness means mellow. The fire from the 80 plus-proof spirit will put you on notice. This is not for the kiddies!
Apple Tarte Tatin Toddy
Easy enough to make at home, this Tarte Tatin in a mug will thoroughly warm you — just take care not to drink more than two. Make sure you have extra on the stove; this warm cocktail smells marvelous and goes down like a dream.
4 shots of Calvados (if you can’t find Calvados, try apple brandy)
Honey simple syrup (add 3 oz. hot water to 8 oz. wildflower honey, shake to combine and keep warm in a water bath)
1/8 tsp. each ground cinnamon, whole cloves and cardamom seeds in a cheesecloth bag for easy removal
4 pats sweet butter
Fleur de sel for sprinkling
Freshly whipped cream for serving
Prepare a pot of strong black tea. Add the Calvados or apple brandy and sweeten to taste with honey simple syrup (you will have some syrup left over).
Add the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom in the cheesecloth bag. Let steep until well incorporated, about 5 minutes. Remove the spice bag.
Pour the mixture into 4 preheated mugs, dividing evenly. Top each with a pat of sweet butter and a sprinkle of fleur de sel. If you want a richer drink, add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and hold the butter and the fleur de sel. Serves 4.
And may we suggest a slice of Tarte Tatin?
About the author: Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey. Warren was an Iron Mixology Judge at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival 2012. He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011. Warren has published over three hundred articles in fewer than three years since his reinvention from executive assistant in private banking to author. Warren writes with a unique free-form style. He is a writer/mixologist on everything from cocktail flavoring and Biodynamic/organic wines to restaurant reviews. He writes for Edible Jersey, Voda Magazine, Foodista, Tasting Panel, Beverage News and Total Food Service Magazine. Warren is the “On Whiskey” columnist for OKRA Magazine in New Orleans part of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ on a Biodynamic farm.