Under French law, Calvados producers are permitted to follow either a double distillation process, using a traditional alembic pot still similar to the one used in Cognac and resulting in the distinguishing title of AOC Pays d’Auge, or a single continuous distillation process in a column still, producing AOC Calvados.
Typically speaking, younger aged Calvados bottles are strongly reminiscent of fresh and clean flavours of apples and pears, whilst the longer the spirit is aged, the more depth of flavour that is produced as it draws further character from the wood.
This article offers more detail on how the production processes and ingredients used during production influence the taste of the final bottle of Calvados.
The French always enjoy Calvados neat as an aperitif before their meal or as a digestif after one but also follow the traditional practice of Trou Normand, where a small serving of Calvados is sometimes poured over a scoop of fruit sorbet and enjoyed between courses to reawaken the diner’s palette.
Prominent brands of the spirit include Christian Drouin, Pierre Huet, and Busnel, who represent a fraction of other family owned or big Calvados producers.
Obstler or Schnaps
Obstler, or Schnaps, is a type of traditional fruit brandy that is native to the Central European countries of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
It is almost always produced from a variety of five fruits including apples, pears, plums, cherries, and apricots, and is very similar to bottles of Rakia fruit brandies produced in neighbouring Balkan countries.
For further elaboration on how this spirit is made, head to this article, which explores some of the history of the drink and its production.