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Producing Calvados requires hard work and attention to detail- from its humble beginnings as an apple, to the craft spirit being poured in your cocktails. This exacting process, perfected over centuries, is what makes Calvados so unique.



Apples used to make Calvados are classified as sweet, sharp, bittersweet and bittersharp, and are grown in orchards planted and organized according to age-old methods. Once harvested, the apples (and some pears) are sorted, cleaned and mashed. The pulp is pressed to extract juice, also known as “must”.


The apple must is fermented in a tank, transforming the sugar into alcohol:as per PDO requirements, no pasteurization, or additives (gas, sugar,acid) are allowed. Once the sugars have been consumed and the alcohol content is at least 4.5% ABV, the cider is ready for distilling. This process can take anywhere from 21-30 days depending on the PDO.



To make eau-de vie from cider, the liquid must be distilled: all the alcohol must be separated from the water. The still is a crucial component of making Calvados and can dictate the end result - two of the Calvados PDOs use a column still, while one requires a pot still. The stills collect the alcohol vapors released when the cider is boiled, condensing them into the eau-de-vie. A double distillation occurs, further refining the spirit.


Once the distilling process is finished, the clear spirit is aged in oak barrels, which will give it its characteristic golden-brown color. All Calvados must be aged for at least 2 years, some up to 3, before it can be sold. Different distilleries use different techniques, which allows for variation in color and taste. A bottle of Calvados must be at least 40% abv to be sold, so cellar masters are constantly monitoring the liquid, reducing it with purified water as needed.


 The Finished Product

Over time, the strong eau-de-vie will have mellowed, deepening in color to a dark amber. When drinking Calvados, you will experience a multitude of flavors, from cooked apple to vanilla, honey, spices or walnuts.

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