Calvados: 2 recipes at home from apples and pears
Making calvados at home is not possible. Similar to cognac, armagnac or tequila, this drink has strict geographical and raw material restrictions enshrined in law.
Therefore, Vzboltai will tell you how to make apple or apple-pear brandy at home, whose production technology will be as close as possible to the Norman counterparts.
Learn about calvados more.
Read before you start
For the sake of ease of presentation, the drinks offered to your attention will still be referred to under the common name "homemade calvados". Let's start with a few warnings that will help you avoid outright profanation and bring your homemade calvados as close as possible to French standards.
First of all, immediately abandon the tempting idea of infusing vodka, alcohol, or moonshine on chopped apples. Whatever one may say, calvados is still a brandy, so it requires mandatory distillation of the original fruit raw materials.
Next, keep in mind that it is absolutely unacceptable to make calvados according to the red scheme. Т.е., he apple brew for calvados (as well as apple-pear brew) should never be made with cultured yeast, nor with the addition of sugar.
As you can imagine, this circumstance will also prevent you from making calvados from apple cake (by the way, practical Normans do something very original with spent cake: they dry it and sell it to cosmetics manufacturers).
If you decide to disregard our advice, given the speed and higher productivity of the red scheme, you will get ordinary, though not without pleasure, moonshine from apples.
Calvados is made exclusively from apple juice fermented according to the white scheme, that is, from apple juice.е., with natural wild yeast.
And finally, given the unofficial name of the drink - apple brandy - calvados calvados must be aged for at least two years in oak barrels. Otherwise, you will get the same apple brandy as moonshine, though of better quality than distillate from the cake.
Recipe for apple calvados at home
This simple recipe will allow you to make drinks reminiscent of calvados such as the famous Calvados Pays d’Auge and the slightly less prestigious AOC calvados.
The wort for calvados is made from pure juice without any foreign additives. In fact, it is a non-carbonated cider.
When estimating the desired amount of the future drink, keep in mind the following ratio: to produce a liter of forty-degree calvados, you need to distill 14 liters of cider made from 20 kilograms of apples.
When selecting the right apple varieties for calvados, follow the classic Norman formula: bittersweet varieties with a slight addition of sweet varieties - 70%, sour varieties - 20%, bitter varieties - 10%.
It is highly desirable that the apples are small and have a noticeable flavor. At the same time, the fruits must be picked from the tree, t.е., remain slightly unripe.
After choosing the desired combination of different varieties of apples, leave the fruit in a warm place for a couple of days for final ripening.
Then, without washing the fruit in any way (otherwise you will destroy the wild yeast that is on the skin), grind it and send it under the press; if the amount of work is not very large, you can use a regular juicer...
Leave the resulting juice in a container covered with gauze, and keep the cake in warm water for a day.
After that, squeeze the apple pulp and pour the resulting liquid into the juice; it is important that it does not exceed 20% of the total volume.
When the wort begins to ferment, remove the foam from it and put it in a dry, dark place where it should be kept under a water seal at a temperature of 22-25°C.
After 3-6 days, when the cider has finally calmed down, carefully remove it from the sediment and send it for distillation.
To be precise, we will be talking about making an apple-pear drink, since pure pear calvados simply does not exist in nature.
In general, the technology of its production does not actually differ from the classical one. However, there are several nuances that we are going to tell you about.
First up: apple-pear brandy can only be made within the AOC calvados and Calvados Domfrontais standards, but in both cases a single distillation in column stills is used. Accordingly, if you resort to double distillation, you will move away from the canon somewhat.
Secondly: pears used to make the drink are equated to sour apples, so they should have a noticeable sourness. Thus, when selecting the fruit for making apple-pear cider, you can replace 20% of sour apples with a similar amount of pears, which is acceptable according to the AOC calvados standard, or do it a la Calvados Domfrontais standard, replacing sour and part of bittersweet apple fruits with pears, which will make up 30 to 50% of the total amount of fruit.
And thirdly: if you want to do everything by science, prepare apple and pear ciders separately, distill them and mix the resulting alcohols in the proportion you prefer.
How many times to distill calvados
The recipe at home, and not only it, provides two possibilities. First, as in the case of the AOC calvados standard, carry out a continuous single distillation using a vertical column still.
The second possibility, which is more acceptable to us, is a double distillation carried out in a conventional moonshine still (although, ideally, for double distillation of Calvados Pays d’Auge (copper "cognac" alambics of the Charente type are used).
As a result of primary distillation, 25-30 degree raw alcohol is obtained, which is fully used for re-processing.
Secondary distillation of calvados involves the separation of the resulting alcohol into fractions.
First, 5-8% of the "head" is discarded.
Then the "body" is selected, which will become the future calvados.
The starting point for the tail fraction should be a drop in the strength of the original product below 40 degrees.
In contrast to the "head", the "tails" can be saved for the future and added to the new cider, just before distillation.
The middle fraction should be diluted with distilled water to the desired strength (from forty revolutions and above), and then the resulting alcohol should be aged.
Aging the drink and further purification of calvados at home
The preliminary stage of finishing your apple brandy is to prepare a barrel for calvados (needless to say, the barrel must be oak).
If you are dealing with a new container, it should be steamed, soaked in cold water, then rinsed with a 20-degree alcohol solution and steamed again.
In this way, you will increase the water resistance of the barrel, disinfect it and rid the wood of excess tannins.
Then, following the example of the Norman distillers, you should burn the container from the inside, but this is, frankly, for an amateur.
To convert apple cider brandy in calvados, it should be in the barrel for at least two years.
If you have nerves of steel and iron endurance, the period can be extended indefinitely. At the same time, after two years of aging, the distillate should be poured into an older container so that its flavor and aroma bouquet acquires the calm versatility characteristic of noble drinks.
In the case of small batches of young brandy, it is allowed to infuse it in glass containers on oak chips. If the resulting drink seems cloudy, it can be cleaned by straining through a cheesecloth filter.
Category: Brandy and Cognac