Recipe: Normandier, a finely tuned Calvados cocktail from GwaiLo’s Christina Kuypers

Recipe: Normandier, a finely tuned Calvados cocktail from GwaiLo’s Christina Kuypers

Recipe: Normandier

By Christina Kuypers

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
Serves 1

2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole allspice berries
8 cloves
1 star anise
1 finger ginger, thinly sliced
⅔ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup white sugar
2 oz vodka

2 oz Calvados
¾ oz spiced apple shrub
¹⁄₅ oz organic apple cider
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 medium pieces orange zest
1 star anise

1. To prepare shrub, combine cinnamon, allspice, clove, star anise, ginger and water in a small pot. Cover, bring to a boil and gently simmer for 30 minutes. Cool. Fine-strain into a 1-L Mason jar (reserve the spices) and add apple cider vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is glossy. Return half of spices and ginger to Mason jar and let rest in fridge for 1 day. Fine-strain again and let shrub rest in fridge for another day. Add vodka. It’ll keep in the fridge indefinitely, but you need to shake before using.

2. To make the cocktail, chill a small coupe. In a mixing glass, combine Calvados, shrub, cider and Angostura bitters. Add ice and stir. Strain into the coupe. Zest orange over the surface of the cocktail and discard. Float one star anise and an orange twist.

Recipe: Normandier
Use unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It tastes better—and it contains more natural enzymes, if you’re concerned about the nutritional value of your booze. Filsinger’s is the very best. It’s available at The Big Carrot (348 Danforth Ave., 416-466-2129).


Christina Kuypers approaches cocktails with the technique of a cartographer. She charts, with a pen and paper, where, when and how the flavours will develop across the tongue. It helps her nail the exact method and ingredients for mixing her seasonally inspired creations. Her precision is one of the reasons the city’s top restaurateurs hire her to develop their cocktail lists—she’s mixed at Splendido, The Drake and The Black Hoof and has partnered with chef Nick Liu on GwaiLo, a new Asian fusion restaurant slated to open in Parkdale. Kuypers knows how a drink will enhance the intricate dishes of her collaborators. Her Normandier, though, can easily be enjoyed on its own—it has a chorus of comforting tastes, including orange, ginger and apple, and a face-puckering tang from apple cider vinegar.

Recipes developed by Victoria Walsh. Recipe photography by Ryan Szulc. Portrait photography by Raina and Wilson. Illustrations by Aleksandar Janicijevic. Interviews by Denise Balkissoon, Ariel Brewster, Andrew D’Cruz, Jennifer Goldberg, Matthew Hague, Claire Hastings, Bronwen Jervis and Simone Olivero.