Balise’s Calvados Cocktails
“I have never wavered in my belief that old Calvados has a more agreeable bouquet, a warmer touch to the heart and a more outgoing personality than Cognac. It is less precocious, but that is only a confirmation of its more profound character.”
–A. J. Liebling in Normandy Revisited
Calvados, an apple brandy from the lower Normandy region of France, has never achieved the respect and fame of Cognac. Though Cognac and wine may have been the preferred beverages of many French settlers in Louisiana, Calvados (made so close to Paris that the area is often called the 21st arrondisement) was an original farm-to-table spirit in France.
Balise, the restaurant opened in 2015 by Justin Devillier and Mia Freiberger-Devillier, features Calvados prominently in the bar program—further exploring French roots in New Orleans and tying together French and American history. The restaurant derives its name from the first fort settlement near the mouth of the Mississippi River, which later became Plaquemines Parish.
At Balise, the best Calvados cocktail during cooler seasons is the Battle of Normandy, featuring Calvados, gin and apple cider spiced shrub.