Signature Cocktail

Set Up the Bar with a Calvados Cocktail and Striped Bottles of Sparkling Wine

On the bar, Calvados from Domaine Dupont, one of the leading craft Calvados and Cider makers—and Chandon bubbly wrapped in a pretty party package.


[1] Summer Cider This month’s cocktail pairs calvados with vanilla accents in the form of syrup and tea. Chocolate mint heightens the flavors for a super-sophisticated summer cocktail. See the recipe with this post.

[2] Domaine Dupont Calvados orchards in the Pays d’Auge region of France, exist in an area with chalky soil, which limits the size of the trees—but is essential to the quality of the final product. Thirteen varieties of tiny apples with thick skins thrive here, each with its own flavor profile, and are blended and aged with the same levels of elegance and expressiveness found in the best wines. The Hors D’Age is made with 80% bittersweet apples and 20% acidic apples, aged for six years in toasted oak barrels. This bottle is best savored on its own. Tasting notes: Lightly wooded, fruit aromas of apple and banana, hints of rose and jasmine. The aroma is heavenly. Vielle Réserve is a younger version, aged for four years. Its notes of vanilla and lemon and lighter body inspired our cocktail recipe.

[3] Heilala Vanilla Syrup A sweetener that could hijack your sugar fix. Heilala Vanilla Syrup is 100% pure vanilla and adds a whole vanilla pod to ensure the spectacular flavor continues to develop in the bottle. Great in cocktails and for baking.

[4] Republic of Tea Caramel Vanilla Black Tea Enjoy the flavors of a sugary treat sans calories. This tea was inspired by traditional Southern yellow cake with homemade caramel vanilla frosting. We made a batch and flavored it with vanilla syrup to heighten the flavors, and served it in our cocktail. The Republic of Tea is known for canvassing the most prized tea gardens of the world to make their extensive line of teas.

[5] Chocolate Mint The first time we sniffed a batch of this mint, it seemed too good to be true. HOBNOB suggests growing a batch of this to have on hand to add to all sort of things—ice tea, desserts, and of course, cocktail. It adds super impact to this month’s cocktail.

[6] Chandon Limited Edition Brut Classic and Rose Sparkling Wine To round out the bar, offer this lovely striped number. This is the third year that Chandon, a sparkling wine house in Napa Valley, has added playful and patriotic pops of red, white and blue stripes to add pizazz to your summer entertaining. The Brut is nautically-chic in blue, and its sister Rosé version features the same crisp, classic stripes in a vibrant pink. Available Memorial Day through Labor Day. $22-$24. Brut minis also available. $8.

See the formula for throwing a fresh and fabulous summer bbq in 16 Summer Fare