Crème de cassis

These days I have found an offer of French products in a well-known supermarket chain. I took the opportunity to buy a bottle of Crème de Cassis, a liquor that is usually difficult to find around here. It is a liquor made from black currants that in France is never taken alone, it is used as a base for the famous Kir cocktail, based on crème de cassis and white sparkling wine, or the most exquisite and elegant Kir Royale, that substitutes champagne for white wine.

The name of these famous cocktails derives from Canon Félix Kir, born in 1878. Due to his opposition to the Nazi regime and for having facilitated the escape of thousands of people from the resistance, at the age of 60 he was elected mayor of Dijon. Blanc-Cassis was a Parisian specialty that with the war years had practically disappeared. Mayor Kir decided to boost the local industry by offering his visitors this curious white wine and cassis aperitif, which made it famous throughout France.

At present. Cassis continues to be cultivated in many areas of Burgundy, the Loire Valley and the Rhône, often on the margins of vineyards. For its perfect maturation, it requires 10 weeks of sub-zero temperatures, in winter. The ideal aroma is only preserved for one day, so it is harvested with machines very quickly. Then it is frozen at 30 degrees below zero, so that it retains all its flavor and high content of vitamin C, as well as the characteristic purplish black color.

Then it is macerated in a mixture of alcohol and water, from which the crème is obtained by filtering once fermented, not by distillation.

Kir: Pour 20 cc. of créme de cassis in a glass and filled with a very cold Bourgogne Aligoté, or another dry white wine. In Alsalcia, Riesling is used, normally a Pinot Blanc, even a sweeter Muscat.

Kir Royal: Pour 10-20 cc. of créme de cassis in a tall glass. Cover with a Champagne Brut or Brut nature (dry). Here we can use some of our excellent Catalan cavas.

Communard: Pour 20 cc. of créme de cassis in a glass and filled with chilled Bourgogne, or another dry, fruity red wine.

In France it is used not only to flavor wine, but also champagne, vermouth or even mineral water. It is also used to accompany cakes or ice creams, or even as the main ingredient in sauces for meat dishes, especially duck or pork. Once the bottle is opened, it should be kept cold and consumed within three months.

Source | Culinary, European Specialties, volume 2. Ed. Könemann. Directly to the Palate | All about spirits.

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