(UPDATED – October 2011) This is a recipe for black currant liqueur (cassis – or creme de cassis) that you can make with dried fruit. The advantage here is that black currants are only in season for a very short time in December. I made this liqueur starting in July, 2008. It is made with dried black currants.
After I made it I wanted to make some more in October, 2008. The problem was all the dried black currants were gone and I would have to wait until after the next crop after December. I bought the dried black currants at Trader Joe’s here in Southern California (please see later posts for where to buy dried black currants in the U.S.).
When I first made this recipe, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure if it would come out allright because I was using dried fruit. My idea was to simply infuse the black currant flavor into vodka. Once I added the dried fruit to the vodka, I could tell the next day that it was going to work. You could see that the mixture was thickening up and that when the jar was agitated, the inside of the jar was coated with a nice reddish-blue color.
This recipe is similar to the recipe for cherry liqueur here at this website. The general idea is that you macerate the fruit with vodka for 4 weeks, then you add sugar and let it macerate for an additional 4 weeks, then you strain it to separate the fruit. Then you let it age and clarify for a few months while you rack off the clarified parts, then blend and bottle it.
Black Currant Liqueur (dried fruit version)
Fruit Infusion Ingredients:
- 2 cups dried black currants (2 – 6 oz. bags)
- 4 cups vodka
Fruit Infusion Instructions:
- Add the dried black currants to a 2 Qt. Mason jar
- Add the vodka to the jar and shake vigorously
- Macerate for 4 weeks
Sugar Infusion Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
Sugar Infusion Instructions:
- Add the sugar to the jar then shake thoroughly to completely dissolve the sugar.
- Continue to macerate for another 4 weeks.
Straining and Filtering:
- Strain through a stainless steel strainer to separate the fruit from the infused spirit.
- Clarify the infused spirits. Allow to settle for about 3 to 4 weeks. With black currants the lightweight cloudy parts float to the top (you can see a cloudy film forming at the top in the inside of the jar). The heavier sedimentary parts fall to the bottom. The clarified parts are in between. You need to first rack off and strain the cloudy top part with a fine mesh metal coffee filter and then filter the rest with a paper towel. Allow it to settle some more (3 or 4 weeks). After that if you see more cloudy parts float to the top, repeat the process except rack off the cloudy top part and filter through a paper towel and then then filter the remaining clarified part with paper coffee filters. Allow to settle again for 3 or 4 weeks and filter with paper coffee filters.
- Age for 2 to 3 months, periodically racking and filtering to clarify the liqueur.
- Make a blending stock using the following proportions:
- 1 part sugar
- 8 parts 100 proof vodka – mix thoroughly to dissolve sugar
- Add blending stock to the infused spirits in the following proportion:
- 3 parts clarified, infused liqueur to
- less than 1 part blending stock – go easy … otherwise it will be too strong
Note: Do not store blending stock. It sours with age. Mix only as much as will be used immediately for blending.
Step One: Infusion
Shown below is a shot of all the ingredients: sugar, vodka, dried black currants plus a 2 qt. Mason jar.
Add the dried black currants to the Mason jar, then measure out the vodka and add it to the jar. Use a measuring cup.
Shown below is a shot of the batch. Shake the jar to thoroughly mix the ingredients, then set it aside to macerate for 4 weeks. Periodically shake the jar to mix the ingredients. To facilitate clarification, do not shake during the last week just prior to straining.
Step Two: Adding Sugar
After macerating for 4 weeks it is time to add the sugar. Measure out the sugar and add it to the jar.
Shake thoroughly to completely dissolve all of the sugar. Make sure all of the sugar gets dissolved. Set the jar aside for another 4 weeks.