Creme de cassis is a French black currant liqueur with a dark berry flavor. Here’s more about it and how to use it in cocktails!
Here’s a berry liqueur that’s lush, balanced, and bursting with bittersweet flavor: crème de cassis! This French liqueur has been produced for over 150 years, and it’s the star behind the bubbly Kir Royale cocktail. But it’s versatile for use in so much more than just the classic. Here’s more about it, when to use it, and more creme de cassis cocktails from ubiquitous to unique.
What is creme de cassis?
Crème de cassis is a dark, sweet French liqueur made black currants. It was invented in 1841 in the city of Dijon in the region of Burgundy, France, and is still produced there today. It’s most famous for its use in the popular Kir Royale and Kir cocktails.
The black currant, aka blackcurrant or cassis, is the berry of a shrub that’s native to central and Northern Europe. It has a sweet tart flavor and is grown in countries like France, Norway, Poland, Latvia, and New Zealand.
French creme de cassis bottles label the region where the blackcurrants were grown. Bottles labeled “Crème de Cassis de Dijon” contain black currants grown in the city of Dijon, whereas the term “Cassis de Bourgogne” have black currants for the surrounding Burgundy region.
Does crème de cassis have dairy?
Does crème de cassis have dairy? Despite the name, there’s no dairy at all! The French word crème means that it’s a crème liqueur, a liqueur with a high sugar content. All the crème family of liqueurs have no dairy, including crème de cacao (chocolate), crème de menthe (mint), and crème de mure (blackberry).
What does creme de cassis taste like?
Crème de cassis is sweet, with a rich, dark berry flavor, with a fragrant, lush and fruity aroma. It’s popularly mixed with white wine in a Kir or champagne in a Kir Royale, or drink it straight or on the rocks as an aperitif or digestif.
What ABV is crème de cassis? It is 15% ABV (alcohol by volume), so it has a relatively low alcohol content, similar to most sweet liqueurs.
Are there any substitutes? Chambord, a French black raspberry liqueur, is a great substitute for crème de cassis. Crème de mure, a blackberry liqueur, also works: it has an even stronger, more developed berry flavor.
Why we like it
Crème de cassis has a smooth, sophisticated berry flavor that’s ideal for mixing in simple drinks like the Kir Royale. In our opinion, it’s even better in the El Diablo: mixed with tequila, lime and ginger beer: a balanced, bubbly and sweet tart drink that impresses everyone.
How much does it cost?
Creme de cassis ranges from inexpensive to high end. One 750 ml bottle costs around $10 to $15 for brands like DeKupyer or Drillaud: we recommend Drillaud. Higher end bottles are Giffard (about $26 per 750 ml bottle), Lejay Creme de Cassis ($33), Briotette ($35), or Gabriel Boudier Dijon ($75).
Popular creme de cassis cocktails
Crème de cassis can be drunk straight as an aperitif before a meal or a digestif after a meal. It also features in a several popular creme de cassis cocktails:
The most well-known of all crème de cassis cocktails is the Kir Royale! This famous French cocktail stars the black currant liqueur and sparkling wine, and the berries and bubbles suit each other perfectly. The best cocktails are rooted in simplicity, and there's really nothing better than this two ingredient drink.
Ingredients: Crème de cassis, Champagne
Our favorite creme de cassis cocktail is the bubbly and balanced El Diablo! This one flies under the radar, but take one sip and you’ll become a convert. Bold berries, zingy lime, and spicy ginger complement the bite of the tequila in a way that’s indescribable.
Ingredients: Crème de cassis, tequila, lime, ginger beer
Before there was the Kir Royale, there was an even simpler drink: the Kir! This classic French cocktail mixes two ingredients for a sophisticated aperitif. Mix crème de cassis, the fruity black currant liqueur, with a chilled dry white wine. It takes just a minute to pour together and the flavor is subtle and nuanced: it almost tastes like a dry red wine but with stronger berry notes.
Ingredients: Crème de cassis, dry white wine
Here’s a sophisticated cocktail that’s calling your name: the French martini! This martini is fruity and balanced. It's typically made with Chambord, a French black raspberry liqueur, but creme de cassis is the ideal substitute. Each sip is so intriguing and nuanced, it’s hard to put the glass down!
Ingredients: Vodka, pineapple juice, crème de cassis
Here's a unique creme de cassis cocktail: the Royal Flush! This fun cocktail pairs sweet tart berries and peach schnapps with the vanilla, brown sugar and oaky notes of Crown Royal whiskey. Adding a hint of berry liqueur to this drink like Chambord or creme de cassis is a common variation.
Ingredients: Whiskey, cranberry juice, peach schnapps, crème de cassis, simple syrup
Another cocktail where you can substitute creme de cassis: the Bramble! This drink has the sweetest name and it’s full of tangy, fruity and sophisticated flavors. This drink uses a blackberry liqueur called creme de mure, but crème de cassis is a great substitute.
Ingredients: Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, crème de cassis
Guide to Creme de Cassis & Cocktails
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Here’s how to make a Kir Royale! These tips make the very best version of this simple and sophisticated classic cocktail. See above for more Creme de Cassis cocktails.
- 1 ounce crème de cassis
- 4 ounces sparkling wine** (Champagne, Prosecco, or other)
- Raspberries, for garnish (optional)
- Pour the crème de cassis into a champagne glass. Top it off with the sparkling wine.
- Garnish with raspberries if desired. Serve immediately.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Poured
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Creme de cassis, creme de cassis cocktails
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Let us know if you have any questions!
is there a way to layer ceme di cassis so it will stay on top of the white wine and you sip through the creme di cassis as you dink it
I’m not sure, sorry!