Got too many blackcurrants? Don’t know what to do with them? Try this easy homemade cassis. There’s no faffing about with this recipe and you only need three ingredients. Let time do the work for you and turn those blackcurrants into a smooth and delicious blackcurrant liqueur.
Over the years, I’ve made countless homemade liqueurs. Rhubarb schnapps and this easy homemade cassis are my favourites, though sloe gin is also hard to beat.
Crème de Cassis
Cassis is the French name for blackcurrant. Back in the mists of time, the French imported blackcurrant bushes from England and started adding some of the juice to their cheap wine to make it more palatable. In 1841 a liqueur maker and distiller, Auguste-Denis Lagoute of Dijon, started manufacturing crème de cassis on a commercial scale. Blackcurrants are crushed and soaked in alcohol and sugar is added at a later stage.
It’s a dark red sweet liqueur with a smooth texture and fruity aromas. In 2015, Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne achieved protected geographical status (PGI). This guarantees that any bottle with this label is produced in Burgundy and uses the blackcurrant variety, Noir de Bourgogne. It is, however, very easy to make your own. And in my humble opinion, my homemade version is better. Phouf!
Easy Homemade Cassis
My easy homemade cassis is not the authentic recipe for creme de cassis, but it has all of the flavour and isn’t nearly as sweet. It’s also incredibly simple to make.
I’ve seen recipes where you have to crush every berry by hand or boil up a syrup or soak the berries first and any number of other variations. This all seem needlessly complicated and unnecessary. There’s no faffing about with my method, however. All you need to do is chuck everything into a jar and leave it. It works a treat.
There are recipes that use gin, rum, brandy or wine. But these all have quite distinctive flavours of their own. I use vodka which has a more neutral taste. This allows the blackcurrant flavour to shine through and create a cleaner, fresher fruit liqueur.
Blackcurrants contain significant amounts of Vitamin C, antioxidants and anthocyanins. They are one of Britain’s top superfoods, after all. So although I can’t exactly claim that my easy homemade cassis is good for you, a moderate amount does have some health benefits.
Fresh seasonal blackcurrants are wonderful but if you can’t get hold of these, frozen ones will still produce a decent blackcurrant liqueur.
You don’t need nearly as much sugar for homemade cassis as you do for sloe gin, for example. This is because sloes are incredibly bitter. Blackcurrants may be a bit on the tart side, but you can eat them raw and many people find them pleasant. You would not want to eat a sloe raw, it will pucker your mouth up almost instantly. So sloes need lots of sugar to counteract that bitterness.
I don’t like my drinks to be overly sweet, so you might want to taste your easy homemade cassis after the first week of steeping. If you feel it’s not sweet enough, just add a bit more sugar.
How to Make Easy Homemade Cassis
As I’ve already mentioned, all you really need to do is to weigh out your three ingredients and bung them into a large clean jar. Leave for a few months. Job done. There are, however a few things to take note of.
- Don’t worry about taking off any stems that might still be attached to the blackcurrants. They’re not poisonous and won’t alter the flavour.
- The jar will need to have a good seal on it so that the alcohol doesn’t evaporate whilst the blackcurrants are steeping.
- Once sealed give the jar a good shake to dissolve the sugar. Store in a cool dark place and give it an occasional shake when you’re passing. I rarely remember, so if it gets three shakes in six months, it’s doing well.
- Leave to steep for at least three months, though six months is better still. The longer you leave it the smoother and more flavoursome it will be. Just try to curb your impatience.
- Strain the liquid into sterilised bottles. Use a fine sieve placed over a funnel to do this. Leave the blackcurrants to drain, but don’t be tempted to squash them down to get more liquid out. If you do the cassis will be cloudy and potentially won’t last as long.
- Pour into pretty bottles. They make ideal gifts for friends and family.
- Once bottled, the liqueur will last almost indefinitely, though it tastes better in its first year.
- Don’t throw those blackcurrants away. You can use them in many blackcurrant recipes or just eat them as they are with ice cream. They’re particularly good in these blackcurrant brownies, though they’d also work well in this chocolate blackcurrant buckle recipe.
How Do You Drink Cassis?
Crème de cassis is a a critical component of many well known cocktails. Kir is the most famous of course, but there’s also el diablo, Arnaud martini and cassis spritz to name but a few. Once you’ve made your own easy homemade cassis, why not create your very own cocktail?
Kir and Kir Royale
Traditionally creme de cassis was used in France to perk up an inferior white wine. Kir is now consumed as a classic aperitif, but it’s also popular as a summer drink. Just add a slug of cassis to your wine and it will instantly taste better and have a fruity kick to it. For a Kir Royale, add 10 ml to a glass of champagne or other sparkling white wine. If you add cassis to red wine, the resulting cocktail is known as a Cardinal.
Kir was popularised by the French Resistance war hero Felix Kir (1876-1968). He was the mayor of Dijon in Burgundy and regularly served the drink to visiting dignitaries.
I prefer to drink my cassis neat as an apéritif or pre-dinner liqueur. Oddly, my friends all seem happy to go along with this. It’s strong stuff, so you only need a small shot glass, but ooh la la, it’s good.
Alternatively, it’s also delicious served over ice as an after-dinner drink or digestif.
Other Blackcurrant Recipes You Might Like
- Blackcurrant brownies
- Blackcurrant & rose nonnettes
- Chocolate blackcurrant buckle
- Rye bread & blackcurrant cake
- Blackcurrant & white chocolate cookies
- Chocolate pancakes with blackcurrant rose compote
- Blackcurrant, rose & white chocolate ripple ice cream
- Chocolate sundae royale
- Blackcurrant fool with mint & rose
- Blackcurrant vinegar
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you try this easy homemade cassis, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
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Easy Homemade Cassis – The Recipe
Easy Homemade Cassis
- 350 g blackcurrants – rinsed
- 100 g golden granulated or caster sugar
- 500 ml vodka
- Add all of the ingredients into a large 1 litre lidded jar. The jar will need to have a good seal on it so that the alcohol doesn’t evaporate.
- Seal the jar, then give it a shake.
- Store it in a cool dark place and give it a shake once every so often.
- Leave to for at least three months, though six months is better still. The longer you leave it the smoother and more flavoursome it will be.
- Strain the liquid into sterilised bottles. Use a fine sieve placed over a funnel to do this. Leave the blackcurrants to drain, but don't be tempted to squash them down to get more liquid out. If you do this the cassis will be cloudy rather than clearn and it may not last as long.
I’m sharing this recipe for easy homemade cassis with Gluterama for #CookBlogShare.