Here's a photo of a branch of one of my cassis bushes, just before I picked them yesterday afternoon. I had to do it now because they are ripe and there were a group of very suspicious looking Golden Orioles hanging out.
I love cassis, it might be my favorite fruit. You never see it for sale, unless you live in the area around Dijon, France where it is a speciality. In Dijon, I had a memorable dessert one evening of merengue shells, cassis sorbet with cassis syrup drizzled over it...
So, I decided to grow it for myself. I have had 2 bushes for the last 4 years planted in a shady location by my swamp. I prune them each year and put wood ashes around the plants in the winter to rpomote the acidity of the soil. Wood ashes seem to be a very good source of nutrients for berry plants. They go on my raspberries as well.
This year, I used berry fertilizer on them and had very good results.
The harvest, perhaps 2 and 1/2 kilos will become a few pots of cassis/framboise jam and the rest, perhaps just under a kilo are now macerating with 2 bottles of Courbieres wine.
Courbieres is a dry red wine, inexpensive for the table, any decent dry red would do.
I crush the berries and pour the wine into a big stainless steel bowl which I will leave over night. Tomorrow, I will strain the liquid, add perhaps 3/4 kilo of sugar and bring the mixture to a boil on the stove. This creates a simple syrup. The liquid will thicken.
This type of a preparation is referred to as a "Creme" and I am making Creme de Cassis.
I did this a few years ago and was very pleased with the results. This time I am using much more cassis. The final touch is to bring the alcohol content back up, because the boiling evaporates the alcohol in the wine. I use commercial clear distilled fruit alcohol which I can buy in supermarkets here. I am very inexact proportionally, I have to taste it to see if it burns right in the mouth....
Then, I put it in bottles and it keeps for quite a long time.
Creme de Cassis is used to make a very nice aperative drink called a Kir. It was named after a famous mayor of Dijon, where the commercial center of Creme de Cassis manufacture is. To make a Kir, first, you put a big dollop of Creme de Cassis in a tall wine glass and then fill the glass with chilled dry white wine.
If you use champagne, or a sparkling white wine, it becomes a Kir Royale....Chin, Chin.....