Good Apples: The Best Apple Brandy Cocktail Recipes

apple brandy cocktails
Photograph by Christopher Testani

First, an explanation: Apple brandy is not the sweet, green stuff you drank back in college. It’s a centuries-old liquor distilled from apples. In France, its oldest form is called calvados, and in America, it was made before there was a Constitution.

Lately, though, there’s been renewed interest in the spirit, and distilleries across the U.S. are producing impeccable versions with the smooth warmth of whiskey and the fruit notes of cognac. Bartenders, naturally, have taken notice and are experimenting with the spirit, perfect in boozy sippers as well as citrusy sour cocktails. Here are three to try at home.

French Lady

Ada’s Place, New York City

  • 1 1⁄2 oz apple brandy, preferably Lemorton calvados
  • 1 oz fresh green apple juice
  • 1⁄2 oz Cointreau
  • 1⁄2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg white

Add ingredients to a shaker. Shake, add ice, and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a green-apple fan.

 

 

Governor Smith

Manhatta, New York City

  • 1 1⁄2 oz Paddy Irish whiskey
  • 1 oz apple brandy, preferably Daron calvados
  • 3⁄4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 oz simple syrup
  • Ginger beer

Add first four ingredients to a shaker. Shake with ice, then strain into a highball glass over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a mint sprig.

Corpse Reviver No. 1

The original calvados cocktail

  • 1 1⁄2 oz cognac
  • 1⁄2 oz apple brandy
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with an orange-zest twist.

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