Currant Liqueur Makes for a Happy New Year

comments (0) December 27th, 2017

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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Homemade currant liqueur and champagne make a perfect Kir Royale to toast the New Year.
Clove currant shrubs are easy to grow natives that are hardy to zone 4. 
Homemade currant liqueur and champagne make a perfect Kir Royale to toast the New Year.Click To Enlarge

Homemade currant liqueur and champagne make a perfect Kir Royale to toast the New Year.

Photo: John Pendleton

The clove currants (Ribes odoratum) that grow in my backyard are some of my favorite fruiting shrubs. These native shrubs have a beautiful open and arching shape, grow spicy-fragrant flowers and produce small dark and sweet berries in summer.

They also make one delicious currant liqueur, sometimes called crème de cassis.

Of course, I have to get to the berries and pick them before the birds do, but even a small harvest of 3 cups of ripe berries can make enough currant liqueur to flavor champagne on New Year's Eve, plus other delicious cocktails through the rest of year. Berries and cocktails go together, but you can also use garden-grown herbs to create tasty libations.

To make a batch of homemade currant liqueur, harvest the berries at their peak of perfection in summer. Muddle them until they release their sweet juice and let them sit overnight.

Then add a high-proof neutral spirit, like vodka (one 750 ml bottle), and refrigerate the concoction for several weeks to fully infuse the berries. When the liqueur reaches a deep purple color, strain the berries, squeezing them with a wooden spoon to release all their juices.

The fun begins when it's time to add a sweetened syrup made with 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water. Heat these together, cool and then add to the purple juice. Keep refrigerated in bottles, and the liqueur will keep for months.

The homemade currant liqueur is sweet, tart and tastes a little like summer. Now that's something to cheer.

Here's to you, fellow gardeners, and another great gardening year!


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posted in: currant, liqueur