Blackcurrant Liqueur (Creme de Cassis): 14 Things You Should Know

1. What is Blackcurrant Liqueur (Crème de Cassis)?

Blackcurrant liqueur (schnapps, cordial, or crème de cassis), is a rich and aromatic spirit, known for its deep purple hue, sweet yet tart flavor, and intense blackcurrant aroma. Typically made from a base of neutral alcohol infused with blackcurrants, this liqueur varies in texture from silky to syrupy.

The production process often involves maceration, where blackcurrants are steeped in alcohol, sometimes with additional herbs or spices, before being sweetened. There are several types of blackcurrant liqueurs, such as pure, which focuses solely on the fruit’s essence, creamy versions that blend dairy for a luxurious texture, and blended types that mix blackcurrant with other fruits or flavors for a complex profile.

The prices vary from budget-friendly options around $15 to premium bottles upwards of $50. Blackcurrant liqueur, typically with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 15-20%, is versatile in its use. It is a star in cocktails like the Kir, Kir Royale or Bramble. Its use in cuisine ranges from glazing meats and savory sauces to flavoring pastries and desserts.

Alternative Names

Blackcurrant liqueur is often known as Crème de Cassis, particularly in France, its region of origin. This name highlights its creamy texture and focus on blackcurrants (cassis in French). In different cultures, it might be referred to by local names that emphasize its primary ingredient, but ‘Crème de Cassis’ remains the most recognized and widely used alternative name. Other variations might include terms like ‘blackcurrant schnapps‘ or ‘blackcurrant cordial‘ in certain contexts, though these can sometimes refer to slightly different products in terms of sweetness and alcohol content.

2. Factsheet

  • Names: Blackcurrant liqueur, crème de cassis, blackcurrant schnapps, blackcurrant cordial.
  • Flavor Profile: Sweet with a tart edge, rich blackcurrant flavor.
    • Aroma: Intense, fruity, with a deep blackcurrant nose.
    • Color: Deep purple, sometimes almost opaque.
  • Production Process: Maceration of blackcurrants in alcohol, followed by sweetening.
    • Base Alcohol: Neutral spirits or brandy.
    • Ingredients: Blackcurrants, sugar, alcohol.
  • Types & Brands:
    • Pure (e.g., crème de cassis): Brands like Crème de Cassis de Dijon
    • Creamy (e.g., cassis cream liqueurs): White Heron British Cassis as an example
    • Blended (e.g., blackcurrant-infused spirits): Alizé Midnight Passion
  • Price Range:
    • Budget: $15 – $25
    • Medium: $25 – $40
    • Premium: $40+
  • Serving Suggestions: Neat, over ice, in cocktails.
    • Use in Cocktails: Kir, Kir Royale, Bramble, Blackcurrant Martini.
    • Use in Cuisine: Dessert sauces, glazes for meats, pastry flavoring.
  • Shelf Life: 12-18 months after opening.
    • Storage: Cool, dark place. Refrigeration recommended after opening.
  • History: Originated in France, particularly in the Dijon region.
    • Popularity: Highly popular in Europe, growing in the US.
  • ABV: 15-20%.
    • Sugar Content: High, varies by brand.

3. What does it taste like?

Flavor Profile

Blackcurrant liqueur presents a luxurious balance of sweetness and tartness. The palate experiences a burst of ripe blackcurrant flavors, leading to a complex and layered finish. The balance between the fruit’s natural tartness and added sweetness results in a harmonious blend, making it both rich and refreshing. The mouthfeel is typically smooth and velvety, contributing to its allure.


The aroma is predominantly fruity, dominated by the lush scent of blackcurrants. It’s an inviting bouquet that sets the stage for its rich flavor profile.


This liqueur is notable for its deep, often dark purple color, which can range from vibrant to almost inky, reflecting the intensity of the blackcurrants used.

4. How is it made?


Blackcurrant liqueur (schnapps, cordial, creme de cassis) is usually made from a base of neutral alcohol, blackcurrants and sugar, sometimes with the addition of herbs, spices or other ingredients.

  • Alcohol Base: Typically, a neutral spirit is used, though some varieties may use brandy.
  • Other Ingredients: Primarily blackcurrants and sugar.

Production Process

The general process involves soaking blackcurrants in alcohol (usually a neutral spirit or brandy) to extract flavor and color. This maceration can last several weeks to months, depending on the desired intensity. After straining, the infusion is sweetened with sugar. There are regional variations; for instance, traditional French Crème de Cassis de Dijon follows a specific method and ingredient list, whereas modern craft versions might experiment with additional flavors or different types of base alcohol.

5. Types & Categories


1. Pure Blackcurrant Liqueurs:

  • Brands: Crème de Cassis de Dijon (France), Gabriel Boudier (France)
  • Characteristics: Focused solely on blackcurrant flavor.

2. Creamy Blackcurrant Liqueurs:

  • Brands: White Heron British Cassis (UK)
  • Characteristics: Blend of blackcurrant with dairy for a creamy texture.

3. Blended Blackcurrant Liqueurs:

  • Brands: Alizé Midnight Passion – infusion of ripe black raspberries and passion fruit in vodka (France)
  • Characteristics: Blackcurrant flavor mixed with other fruits or spirits.

Key Differences

  1. Pure: Intense blackcurrant flavor, higher tartness, and deeper color.
  2. Creamy: Softer, smoother mouthfeel, with a balance between tart and sweet.
  3. Blended: Complex flavor profile, often lighter, with varied sweetness levels.

6. Top Brands

1. Crème de Cassis de Dijon

  • Category: Pure
  • Traditional French recipe, intense blackcurrant flavor.

2. Gabriel Boudier

  • Category: Pure
  • Renowned for its authentic taste and high-quality ingredients.

3. White Heron British Cassis

  • Category: Creamy
  • Unique creamy texture, British blackcurrants, luxurious feel.

4. Alizé Midnight Passion

  • Category: Blended
  • Innovative blend with tropical passion fruit, versatile in cocktails.

5. Lejay Lagoute

  • Category: Pure
  • Oldest cassis producer, known for its rich and authentic flavor.

Brand Comparison

  • Crème de Cassis de Dijon vs. Gabriel Boudier: Both are pure types but differ in sweetness levels and intensity of flavor. Crème de Cassis de Dijon is often more robust, while Gabriel Boudier offers a slightly smoother taste.
  • White Heron vs. Alizé Midnight Passion: White Heron’s creamy texture contrasts with Alizé’s fruit-forward, tropical blend. Ideal for different uses – White Heron for a luxurious sip, Alizé for vibrant cocktails.

7. Buying Guide

Price Range

  • Budget: $15 – $25
  • Moderate: $25 – $40
  • Premium: $40+

Best Buys

  • Budget: Leroux Blackberry Flavored Brandy
  • Moderate: Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis
  • Premium: Crème de Cassis de Dijon

Buying Tips

When looking for the right bottle of blackcurrant liqueur, consider the following:

  1. Taste: Look for a balance of sweetness and tartness.
  2. Ingredients: High-quality blackcurrants and minimal artificial additives.
  3. Production: Traditional methods often yield a richer flavor.
  4. Use Case: Consider how you’ll use it – cocktails, cooking, or neat.
  5. Value: Assess price against quality and brand reputation.
  6. Brand Reputation: Well-established brands often guarantee quality.
  7. Price: Depends on intended use; premium brands for special occasions.

Premium – Worth it?

Premium blackcurrant liqueurs, like Crème de Cassis de Dijon, offer a depth of flavor, complexity, and a balance that is often worth the extra cost, especially for connoisseurs or special occasions. The use of high-quality ingredients and adherence to traditional production methods in premium liqueurs typically results in a more authentic and rich experience.

These premium options are not just about the intensity of flavor, but also the nuances – the subtle notes and the smooth finish that make them stand out. For those who appreciate the art of liqueur making or want to elevate their cocktails and culinary creations, investing in a premium blackcurrant liqueur can be a worthwhile decision. The difference is often noticeable, not just in the depth of flavor but in the overall quality and experience it brings to the table.

8. How to Drink It?

Serving Guide

Blackcurrant liqueur, or crème de cassis, is best enjoyed when served chilled, either neat, over ice, or as a part of a cocktail. For a neat serving, small liqueur glasses are ideal, highlighting its rich aroma and flavor. When used in cocktails, appropriate cocktail glassware enhances the drinking experience. Chilling it to around 10-15°C (50-59°F) brings out its vibrant flavors and aroma.

  • Serving Suggestions: Neat, over ice, or in cocktails.
  • Glassware: Small liqueur or cocktail glasses.
  • Ideal Temperature: Chilled, 10-15°C (50-59°F).


To fully appreciate blackcurrant liqueur, start by observing its color and consistency. Smell it to get a sense of the depth of blackcurrant aromas. Sipping it neat initially allows you to taste its pure flavor. Finally, evaluate the balance of sweetness and tartness, the complexity, and the finish, which are key quality indicators.

Here are the 4 steps to properly appreciate a blackcurrant liqueur:

  1. Observe: Look at the color and consistency.
  2. Smell: Take in the aroma, noting the intensity of blackcurrant.
  3. Sip: Taste it neat first. Let it coat your palate.
  4. Evaluate: Consider the balance of sweetness and tartness, the complexity of flavors, and the finish.

9. How to Use It in Cocktails?


Blackcurrant liqueur, or crème de cassis, is a versatile ingredient in cocktails, lending its unique flavor to classics like Kir, Kir Royale, Bramble, and Blackcurrant Martini.

  1. Kir: Blackcurrant liqueur with white wine.
  2. Kir Royale: Blackcurrant liqueur topped with Champagne.
  3. Bramble: Gin, blackcurrant liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  4. Blackcurrant Martini: Vodka, blackcurrant liqueur, and a splash of lime juice.


The choice of liqueur type – traditional, pure, or creamy – can significantly influence the cocktail’s character.

  • Kir and Kir Royale: Traditional Crème de Cassis like Crème de Cassis de Dijon.
  • Bramble: A pure variety like Gabriel Boudier for a robust flavor.
  • Blackcurrant Martini: Creamy types like White Heron for a smoother drink.

Pro Tip: When mixing, it’s crucial to balance the liqueur’s intensity with other ingredients. Adjust the proportions to suit your taste preferences. When mixing, start with less liqueur and add to taste to avoid overpowering the cocktail.


For those seeking alternatives, other berry liqueurs (like Chambord) offer alcoholic substitutions, while blackcurrant syrup or juice are non-alcoholic options.

  • Alcoholic: Berry liqueurs (e.g., blackberry, raspberry) like Chambord
  • Non-alcoholic: Syrup or juice made from blackcurrants or other berries

10. How to Use It in the Kitchen?

Culinary Applications

Beyond cocktails, blackcurrant liqueur (crème de cassis) shines in the kitchen. It’s a fantastic addition to desserts, from a simple drizzle over ice cream to a sophisticated glaze on fruit tarts. Bakers can infuse cakes and cupcakes with its rich, fruity flavor. It can also elevate sauces for meats like duck and venison.

  1. Desserts: Ice cream, yogurt, fruit tarts.
  2. Baking: Cakes, cupcakes.
  3. Sauces: Duck, venison.

Food Pairings

Unsurprisingly, blackcurrant liqueur is excellent with chocolate-based desserts and fruit pastries. Moreover, pairing it with creamy cheeses, like brie or camembert, further showcases its versatility and depth. The liqueur also complements gamey meats like duck or lamb.

  1. Cheeses: Brie, Camembert.
  2. Meats: Duck, lamb.
  3. Desserts: Chocolate desserts, fruit pastries.

11. How to Keep it Fresh?


Blackcurrant liqueur, or crème de cassis, should be stored in a cool, dark place before opening, and refrigerated after opening to preserve its flavors. While it typically doesn’t freeze due to its alcohol content, extreme cold may affect its quality. Unopened bottles have a long shelf-life, but it’s best to consume the liqueur within 12-18 months after opening for optimal taste.

  • Before Opening: Store in a cool, dark place.
  • After Opening: Refrigerate to maintain freshness.
  • Freezing: Generally, it does not freeze due to alcohol content, but quality may be affected in extreme cold.


  • Before Opening: Can last for years if stored properly.
  • After Opening: Best consumed within 12-18 months.

12. History & Popularity

Blackcurrant liqueur (crème de cassis) has its roots in France, especially in the Dijon region. It emerged as a means to use the region’s abundant blackcurrant harvests. In France, it’s a symbol of their liqueur craftsmanship and has gained worldwide recognition, especially in cocktail culture. It is integral in classic cocktails, representing sophistication. It is popular for its versatility in both drinks and culinary applications like cooking and baking.

13. How to Make it at Home?

Making blackcurrant liqueur at home involves macerating blackcurrants in a neutral alcohol like vodka, then straining and sweetening the infusion. The process requires basic equipment like a jar, strainer, and bottles. It’s a simple yet rewarding DIY project that allows you to create a personalized liqueur.


1. Ingredients:

  • Blackcurrants, sugar, neutral alcohol (like vodka).

2. Tools & Equipment:

  • Jar, strainer, funnel, bottles.

3. Preparation Steps:

  • Macerate blackcurrants in alcohol, strain, add sugar, and age.

14. Nutrition

Blackcurrant liqueur, or crème de cassis, typically has an ABV of 15-20% and a high sugar content. Most are gluten-free and vegan, but it’s essential to check individual brands for specific dietary needs.

  • ABV Content: Typically 15-20%.
  • Sugar Content: High sugar content, varies by brand.
  • Dietary Restrictions:
    • Gluten-Free: Generally, yes.
    • Vegan: Usually, but check for specific brands.
    • Allergens: Mainly blackcurrants; check for additional ingredients in commercial brands.


Please consume blackcurrant liqueur responsibly and in moderation. It’s important to do your own research and make informed decisions regarding dietary choices and restrictions.

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