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.

New Year

the view to the west from the end of our dock

Is there ever a better way to start the new year than with a new outlook? And a better way to find a new outlook than to change your point of view? Does this post sound like a women’s magazine article yet?

We have moved to a new marina, one full of classic yachts and legally liveaboard closer to downtown Ballard, the hotdog cart, the gym, tacos, the farmers’ market, the fabric store… Yay yay yay.

While our old space was essential to the reconstruction process, it was time to move on to a more formal arrangement. I am a lucky girl to find this spot so close to the land things I like best and as close to the sound and adventure as possible.



First big winter storm of the season. Daniel got home this morning after doing a delivery for a friend. They elected to run straight in from Oregon, hoping to miss the big blow that we are all now anticipating with the mix of snow-day eagerness and natural-disaster dread. I have observed all the heavy-weather rituals, however; baked bread, made soup, pressed water tanks, checked the weather like I have ocd. Now there’s nothing to do but drink hot rum and sit by the fire.