20 best Calvados cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

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Calvados is a wonderfully flavoursome base spirit in cocktail recipes, particularly with a young calvados that retains the fresh crisp notes of apple with less tannic oak influence.

So flavoursome is calvados that it is often combined with other base spirits (e.g. gin in an Angel Face) but it is also delicious in a simple Calvados & Tonic. For the selection of calvados-based cocktails below I've favoured cocktails where the character of the apple brandy shines through in the finished cocktail.

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Accoutrement
With: Calvados, Strega, crément créole, lemon juice and creole-style bitters.
We say: Originally garnished with a cherry but deserved more of an accoutrement.

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Ante
With: Calvados, Dubonnet Red, triple sec and aromatic bitters.
We say: Medium-dry, spiritous aromatised apple with delicate fruit.

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Apple Blossom Cocktail
With: Calvados, rosso vermouth and orange bitters.
We say: Concentrated lightly herbal apple with subtle zesty citrus. Quick to make and stupidly simple yet delicious.

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Apple Brandy Sour
With: Calvados, lemon juice, sugar syrup, aromatic bitters and egg white.
We say: Sour by name – balanced sweet and sour apple by nature.

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Apple Cart
With: Calvados, triple sec, lemon juice and apple schnapps.
We say: When a Sidecar is made with calvados it becomes an Apple Cart.

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Apple Jack Rabbit
With: Calvados, orange juice, lemon juice and maple syrup.
We say: Apple, orange and tart lemon enriched with maple syrup.

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Calvados Fruit Cup
With: Calvados, orange curaçao, rosso vermouth, aromatic bitters, ginger ale and cola.
We say: The crisp dry apple freshness that calvados brings makes it one of the best base spirits in a fruit cup.

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Fall From The Tree
With: Calvados, apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup and aromatic bitters.
We say: An autumnal apple and delicately cinnamon-spiced sour.

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Fallen Leaves
With: Calvados, rosso vermouth, dry vermouth and cognac.
We say: Two vermouth and two brandies sit harmoniously.

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Feather Duster Crusta
With: Calvados, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit juice, passion fruit syrup, grenadine syrup and creole-style bitters.
We say: To quote the late, great Gregor de Gruyther, "quite a light Crusta", hence the name.

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Harvard Cooler
With: Calvados, lime juice, sugar syrup and soda water.
We say: Lime and sugar sit in balance and enhance the apple brandy.

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Harvest Cocktail
With: Calvados, vermouth amaro and aromatic bitters.
We say: A great after-dinner sipper.

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Honeymoon
With: Calvados, Bénédictine, triple sec, lemon juice and egg white.
We say: A 1930s classic from the Brown Derby bar in Manhattan.

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Jack Collins
With: Calvados, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda water.
We say: You've tried a Vodka Collins and a Gin Collins but what about a Calvados Collins?

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Jack Rose
With: Calvados, lemon juice, lime juice, sugar syrup, raspberry syrup, grenadine, aromatic bitters and egg white.
We say: Split citrus juices and split syrups add to this classic's balance abd complexity.

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Lazy Man Flip
With: Port, calvados, sugar syrup and egg yolk.
We say: Creamy but not sweet with pot and calvados sitting beautifully together.

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Orchard Crush
With: Damson jam, calvados, lemon juice and sugar syrup.
We say: A modern classic by Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

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Pan American Clipper
With: Calvados, lime juice, grenadine, sugar syrup and absinthe.
We say: Essentially a Jack Rose with a couple of dashes of absinthe – and all the better for it.

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La Sang Jaune
With: Calvados, dry vermouth, elderflower liqueur, gentian liqueur and absinthe.
We say: The name translates as The Yellow Blood which befits this spirituous cocktail's colour.

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The Stig
With: Calvados, pisco, elderflower liqueur and sauvignon blanc wine.
We say: Whiter than white, yet mysterious.

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