If you are not familiar with calvados, it is, in short, an apple flavored brandy. It is a very specific brandy, only made in Normandy France. It is started as a cider with apples only grown in Normandy. Four different types of apples are included. The types are bittersweet, sweet, bitter and bittersharp. It is then aged for two years in oak. It’s taste isn’t insanely strong like many other brandy’s, and is much better to easily enjoy than many brandy’s are.
Calvados, while it isn’t hard to get and it’s not too expensive, it’s not always at your local liquor store. However, don’t worry there are many substitutes for calvados. These substitutes include: a cheaper brandy, unsweetened apple juice concentrate, apple cider, brandy extract, apple juice, applejack, and pear brandy.
Substitutes for Calvados
1. Cheaper Brandy
The easiest way to substitute calvados is by just using a cheaper, more obtainable cheaper brandy. Depending on the flavor you are going for for a drink or in desserts, you have the whole world of brandy to pick from when substituting for calvados.
2. Unsweetened Apple Juice Concentrate
Apple juice concentrate is really the best way to replace apple brandy. For mixed drinks and for cooking, it mimics the flavor almost perfectly. Apple juice concentrate is also one of the easiest things to find in any supermarket.
If you want to add alcohol to whatever you are making with apple juice, you can incorporate rum or vodka.
Applejack is another great substitute because it is apple brandy, so you are just replacing the brand. This is a simple and effective way to get practically the same flavor as you would with calvados.
4. Brandy Extract
Brandy extract has a very similar flavor to brandy, although it hardly has any alcohol in it. You can use brandy extract in any mixed drink or in any form of baking or cooking. You can also add brandy extract to things like apple juice or apple cider to achieve that apple flavored brandy taste.
5. Apple Juice
This definitely isn’t the same as actual calvados, but especially in baking or cooking, it will work just fine. You will want to use an apple juice that isn’t unnaturally flavored, and decide if you want an unsweetened apple juice or not. Many go unsweetened especially in baking because the extra sugars throw off the dish. You could even add some Disaronno to your apple juice to get that apple brandy alcohol twist.
6. Apple Cider
Apple cider is very versatile and similar to calvados because they are made the same exact way. The flavors are on point with calvados and it’s an easy alcohol free substitute. If you want to add alcohol, you can use hard apple cider. The sugar content counts! So keep that in mind when you are looking for an apple cider for your mixed drink or dish.
7. Pear Brandy
Pear brandy is a great substitute especially if you are looking for a slightly different flavor. It has the same effect as apple brandy does in cooking and in mixed drinks, all you are doing is swapping pears for apples.
To sum everything up, there is no need to worry if you don’t have or can’t find calvados. There are plenty of other options to spice up your mixed drinks or cooking dishes. These options all have their own unique flavor and you can choose to add alcohol or keep it alcohol free.