Newest Review: ... to say that it is alcoholic blackcurrant cordial. Cassis is a blackcurrant flavoured liqueur which can either be drunk on its own with i... more
Big Kids Ribena
Creme De Cassis
Member Name: wiggglypufff
Creme De Cassis
Date: 11/01/02, updated on 02/02/05 (954 review reads)
Advantages: Fruity, Versatile, Inexpensive
Disadvantages: Likely to cause a bad hangover on large consumption
Mmmmmmmm... that just about sums it up. Well, mmmmm as long as you like Ribena that is, because if you don't I have to say that Crème de Cassis just will not do a lot for you.
So, what is Crème de Cassis? Basically, a blackcurrant liqueur. It's smooth in taste, a wonderfully deep purple/red colour, and it has a syrup like consistency.
It is quite deceptive on the senses - the alcoholic undertones usually present in drinks of an adult nature are masked by the delightfully fresh and fruity aroma that is somewhat similar to opening a jar of blackcurrant jam, and the taste is along the lines of Ribena in it's concentrated form.
Averaging at around 20% alcohol by volume, (varies with brand-name) it's strength is a little more than a classy wine, four times as strong as the average beer, but about half the strength of mainline spirits. Without doubt in quantity it is a potent drink, but consumed as intended, as an occasional tipple in a sherry glass or other similar sized vessel, it will not result in you getting blind drunk.
Crème de Cassis is a really handy addition to a drinks cabinet. Not only can it be sipped as an aperitif or after dinner drink, it can be mixed in a variety of ways to suit different occasions. It can be mixed with lemonade, soda or tonic water to make a light and refreshing 'long drink' in the summer, with white wine or champagne (Kir/Kir Royale) for special events, and it enhances a fruit punch well.
It’s other use is in cocktails - with it's high density, Crème de Cassis can be used as the bottom layer in a Pousse-Cafe (layered cocktail), followed by 'lighter' ingredients such as fruit brandies or clear spirits.
It's sweetness and syrupy form also make it an ideal ingredient for cooking. In it's original state it makes a great topping for ice-cream based desserts, and can be used an an alternative to sherry in a traditional sponge based
trifle. Or it can be gently heated and thickened with a little arrowroot to make a rich fruity sauce for a steamed sponge pud. Experiment for yourself, you can’t really go wrong.
Crème de Cassis actually originates from 16th century France. Produced by monks as a cure for wretchedness, jaundice, and snakebites. Having never taken it for those ailments I can't comment on it's suitability for that purpose, but as a liqueur in it's own right, I highly recommend it.
Keeping with tradition to this day, Crème de Cassis is still produced in France, near Dijon in the Burgundy district. It is made exclusively by a company called LEJAY-LAGOUTE (they have the rights to the names - Crème de Cassis and Kir/Kir Royale), although it is sold under the brand names of SISCA, Le Moine Légendaire, and in fact Sainsburys.
The tell tale sign of the authentic product and the LEJAY-LAGOUTE connection is the bottle itself. A slightly flared round base with FRANCE and DIJON embossed in the glass, continued by a straight bottle with the words LEJAY-LAGOUTE embossed at the rounded top, pulled in to a tight neck, another flare with a blown glass ring, and then gently tapered up to the top of the bottle.
The clear glass allows the warming liqueur to be marvelled at, although the real experience starts from the moment the cap is twisted off.
At the retail price of just £5.99 for a 50cl bottle, Crème de Cassis is a good buy, and certainly worth having around. It's widely available in supermarkets and off licenses so you shouldn't have any problems finding it.
(Recommended to be consumed within 6 months of opening and stored in a cool place.)
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