This week (26th October – 1st November) is National Calvados Week, but it also marks the launch of Adnams Pomme Pom, an oak-aged apple spirit, or – to put it another way – an apple brandy. Whilst I am a big fan of Calvados (and North American Applejack, too, for that matter), I thought that for this Calvados Week I would look across from Normandy to the other side of the channel to explore this English apple brandy*.
Pomme Pom is made at the Adnams Copperhouse Distillery in Southwold, Suffolk. The distillery takes cider from nearby Hogan’s Cider Farm and distills it in their copper pot stills. It is then aged for at least three years in oak casks.
On its own
Nose: Dried apples with rich notes of wood and warm spice, as well as a hint of caramel and vanilla.
Taste: A smooth mouthfeel upfront, with a warmth that gently builds over time. Rich, woody oak, spice and vanilla notes are followed by fruity notes of apple on the finish. The intensity of the apple notes grows as you sip and lingers for a long time on the palate.
From the fridge
A light chill brings out some of the fruity notes of the spirit, but it still keeps its war mth. The finish is of baked apple, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
From the freezer
Fragrant, juicy apple on the nose. Served from the freezer, the texture is more viscous and the fragrant apple flavour is fuller. There is a touch of tart cider apple flesh to start, then warm, spiced woody notes, followed by a delightful finish of fresh apple and apple blossom – superb!
From a hipflask
Calvados is one of my favourite spirits to enjoy from a hipflask: it is warming, yet fruity, and Pomme Pom ticks the same boxes. As it is gently warmed by being in a jacket pocket, the spirit becomes more mellow and rounded – perfect for a little nip when going on a long walk, especially now that the days are a tad cooler.
[25ml Pomme Pom, 10ml Sugar Syrup, 15ml Lemon Juice, 100ml Boiling Water]
Superb, absolutely superb! So warming and comforting; an excellent drink to enjoy outside whilst watching fireworks or to warm up inside after a crisp, autumnal walk. To add an extra bonfire-esque element, replace the sugar with a piece of cinder toffee and allow it to dissolve as you sip.
With apple juice
[25ml Pomme Pom, 75ml Apple Juice]
Rich and creamy, with a slight note of custard coming through alongside the spice and creamy vanilla. There is then a warm, woody element, before a crisp, refreshing finish. This is a really simple, but nonetheless delicious drink with lots of depth and character. Best enjoyed with an apple juice that does not come from concentrate.
[25ml Pomme Pom, 100ml Soda Water]
This is a light and refreshing drink with subtle flavours of apple and wood coming through from the Pomme Pom, as well as touch of creamy spice and vanilla. A pleasant drink for an autumnal afternoon or as an early evening refresher on a hot summer’s day. Best garnished with a spritz of lemon peel oil.
Father & Son
[50ml Pomme Pom, 100ml Still Cider – Shake with Ice]
A simple, but exceptionally cooling and refreshing cocktail. The cider adds a little extra tartness and the Pomme Pom adds a fortifying element, as well as more complex notes of wood and spice. Delicious and very satisfying.
As I have mentioned in the past, I am a big fan of cider and so apple brandy is a favourite, too. I think that it’s great that, as more distilleries open up in the UK, more are looking at making apple spirit. After all, we make great cider in the UK, so why don’t we make great apple/cider brandy, too?
Pomme Pom is a versatile spirit that works well in both warming and cooling cocktails and, whilst apples undoubtedly have more of an autumnal/winter vibe, I’d happily enjoy it all year round. My favourite drinks were spirit served straight from the freezer, straight from a hipflask, and the Father & Son.
* This used to also be known as cider brandy, but as “Somerset Cider Brandy” (including “Cider Brandy”) now has a European Geographical Indication Protection, the term cannot be used so broadly.