In addition to moving to the new marina, New Year’s Eve was also the day to finish the cassis that Daniel and I started making back in August.

I like kir better than almost anything (better still if with champagne), but the pink plastic-y stuff we get as cassis at the liquor store almost put me off kir for good. Until I found baskets of organic black currants at the market a couple of years ago, when it occurred to me that there might be a better way (also, lacking a freezer, I was busy “rediscovering” food preservation techniques that were no-big-deal for hundreds of years, but are a little obscure now). We made a batch; it was delicious. We ran out mid-summer this year and have been waiting (almost) patiently ever since.

The first step in making cassis is finding black currants (they will be available in August), picking out the sticks and spiders, and putting them in jars that have lids available. Then cover with eau de vie or good vodka, seal, and put away until Christmas.

To begin the transformation, crush the currants into the vodka to release the juice. I used the food mill attachment for the Kitchen-Aid to assist with this. Strain the pulpy/seedy bits thoroughly to gather as much of the currant-and-booze juice as possible. I used a jelly strainer; be warned, the juice stains (towels, aprons, hands…):

Measure your juice and combine with an equal amount of sugar:

two jars of juice
require two jars of sugar

Bring the whole mess to a low simmer to dissolve the sugar and then add half as much additional vodka as the original quantity of juice mixture (2 jars juice + 2 jars sugar + 1 jar vodka). Cook and stir at a low simmer until the mixture thickens slightly to coat the back of a spoon:

this step takes a while

When done, carefully pour into clean bottles or jars and stopper. I like old port bottles for size, but wine bottles work too. The hardest part is making it last until next New Year’s.