Homemade blackcurrant liqueur is simple to make, provided you can find a source of fresh blackcurrants. In the United States, that can be a challenge, but they’re becoming more common at farmers’ markets and food coops.
I’ve heard that even in the UK, where they’re quite popular in cooking and backyard gardens, it’s hard to find them outside of the farmer’s market. Once you have blackcurrants, it only takes a few minutes to make your own cassis.
We always have a bumper crop of blackcurrants in the summertime.
It’s a strange thing to have in abundance, but our land is both shady and wet, which isn’t good for growing most things. That is, except black currants.
Blackcurrants thrive in shade and wet, soggy soils. In fact, planting blackcurrants in a sunny spot is a sure recipe for killing them.
The leaves tend to burn in the sun, and the plants will be stunted. Our blackcurrants are in almost full shade, planted under mature evergreens in the woods of Vermont.
Every year we make blackcurrant jam, dozens upon dozens of jars. It’s delicious and versatile, but I’m always looking for new blackcurrant recipes.
Last year we tried out blackcurrant mead (honey wine), and it was a huge success. Home fermenting can be messy and time-intensive, and liqueurs are much simpler.
How to Make Blackcurrant Liqueur
The most famous use of black currants is creme de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur. The astringency of the blackcurrants is cut by the sweetness of cane sugar, resulting in a delightful cordial.
It’s easy enough to make.
All it takes is a bit of mid-shelf vodka, blackcurrants, sugar, and spices if you choose. I like to add in a cinnamon stick for a bit of warmth.
Though the blackcurrants ripe in July, the liqueur will be best about 6 months later. Remember that when you’re choosing your spices.
Think warm winter spices, with a hint of Christmas cheer.
While most recipes will have you add nearly equal parts fruit and sugar, I think that’s a bit over the top. This cassis recipe is plenty sweet but still allows you to taste the fruit.
After your blackcurrant liqueur has been infused for a few months, all you need to do is strain, bottle, and enjoy.
The fruit will have lost most its flavor into the liqueur but can still be used in fruitcakes or to top ice cream. Generally, they’re a one-time use type thing.
Enjoy the liqueur!
Blackcurrant Liqueur (Homemade Creme de Cassis)
This easy-to-make blackcurrant liqueur puts store-bought versions to shame. The warm spices make it perfect for holiday cocktails.
- 2 cups Blackcurrants
- 750 ml Vodka, about 3 cups
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Wash the blackcurrants and pick them over for spoiled fruit. Stemming is optional. Blackcurrant leaves and stems are often used for flavoring in many different foods, and they'll only add more tannin and depth to the cassis.
- Place the blackcurrants, cinnamon stick and sugar in a quart mason jar. Add the vodka. The vodka may not quite fit in the jar, but fill it up as much as you can.
- Cover the jar and store in a dark place for several months, shaking anytime you remember.
- After 2 to 3 months, strain the mixture. Bottle it up and allow it to mature for another few months. Enjoy!
Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g
Looking for more homemade liqueurs?
Wondering if I can use up frozen berries from my bushes ….. is this possible for this Creme de cassis ?
It depends to some extent how your winter has gone. I do harvest the frozen berries mid-winter if the birds haven’t picked them off, but if you’ve had a good number of freeze/thaw cycles the berries will be partially fermented. Not a bad thing necessarily, but they’ll taste a bit different. If it got cold and stayed cold, then they’ll be just like out of your freezer. I’d suggest harvesting some, thawing them and giving them a try.
I would disagree with a sunny spot killing blackcurrants, I live in Tasmania and my bushes are subjected to nearly all day sun in temperatures sometimes reaching 35-40C and I get bumper crops
Hi,can I use gin instead of vodka and coconut sugar instead of cane sugar?
How about using white rum?
That would be a delicious alternative!
Hi from Europe! I hzve made it and also jam for years and its tasty snd good for health. The inly thing I would like to mention is that blxk currants do well in sun. I have 1 5 bushes and they are in full sun, almost 20 yrss.
I haven’t tried this yet, but it looks so easy. I made chokecherry cordial (with brandy) 2 years ago and served it with ginger ale and ice. How do you normally drink creme de cassis?
Chokecherry cordial sounds delicious. Personally, I like this straight in the wintertime. It’s incredibly warming and the tart fruit really cuts the sweetness to create a well-balanced drink. It’d be good in seltzer too over ice, but a better summer drink then. I bet it’d be good added into warm tea, like a hot blackcurrant toddy…
Do I squish the fruit when I strain, in order to get the most out of the fruit? If not, can I save the fruit and do something like serve over vanilla ice cream?
I don’t think that I would crush them since this would probably result in a lot of excess sediment in your cassis. I think serving them over ice cream sounds like an amazing idea though.
I’m wondering if you need to boil the jars before making the liqueur. Is it necessary and implied?
It’s an infused alcohol so it’s really not necessary. The alcohol will pretty much sterilize everything but if you feel more comfortable doing so, it certainly wouldn’t hurt anything.
I followed the recipe for the black current cordial and has been in a dark cool cupboard for about 1 week. I checked it today and it has developed a film on the top which looks like fermentation. Is this spoilage and do I need to toss it?
I would scrape it off and maybe even transfer it to a clean container and see if it comes back. Do you have a lid on the jar?
I have several Ben Sarek black currant bushes planted in full sun in Alaska and they do fantastic—at least a gallon per bush! I see this variety is prohibited in several states though. So sad!
Can I use frozen black currents? I just got 2 kilos. Would live to try your reculée.
Yes, the frozen currants should work just fine.
I made this following your recipe last year and came out great. My questions are: After straining the berries can you use the berries for something? They hold the smell and wonderful taste I just hate to throw in compost. Second, would it be better to crush the berries a little? One or two quick run in food processor?
I don’t think it’s necessary to crush them and it would make it much more difficult to strain. You could possibly try using them as a topping on ice cream or pancakes. They might work well inside of a muffin or cake as well.
I’m making this today, I have a question, do I put a lid on the jar or a piece of cheese cloth?
You can just use a regular lid. You’re not fermenting anything here, just infusing the alcohol with the blackcurrants.