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What Is Creme de Cassis?

Creme de cassis originated in 16th century France, where blackcurrants were used as a snakebite cure.
Creme de Cassis is often served after a French meal, along with coffee and dessert.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2014
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Creme de cassis is a French blackcurrant liqueur. Cassis is the French name for the berries known as blackcurrants. Creme de cassis originated in 16th century France, where blackcurrants were used as a snakebite cure. The blackcurrant fruit gives this liqueur a red color and a sweet taste.

Although creme de cassis is served in a liqueur glass or in mixed drinks, it can also be used as a dessert sauce. It may be served over ice cream or angel food cake. Fresh berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries, make the ideal accompaniment to the fruity liqueur, since they are also berry flavored.

Kir is one of the most well-known drinks made with creme de cassis. It's named after Dijon, France's 1945 mayor, Canon Felix Kir. The cassis liqueur is combined with white wine to create the beverage. Kir should be served in a red wine glass. Some Kir versions use champagne, burgundy, or sparkling wines instead of white wine.

Another drink recipe that contains creme de cassis is the Tequila Sunrise. The "Sunrise" is served in a tall ice-filled glass with tequila, club soda, and lime juice in addition to the blackcurrant liqueur. In addition to the cassis liqueur, a Tequila Sunrise usually contains another fruity liqueur called orange curacao.

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One drink made with the cassis liqueur is named after the early use of blackcurrants as a snake bite cure. The drink "Snake Bite," contains creme de cassis, licorice liqueur, lager, and cider. This drink may be mixed or layered.

Pousse-cafes are layered drinks that are carefully created so that layers of color can be viewed through a clear bar glass. In order for the layers of liquid to stay separate in bands of color, such as yellow, green, and red, heavier liqueurs are poured into the bottom with the lighter ones saved for the top of the drink. Creme de cassis often follows brandy as the next heaviest liqueur in a pousse-cafe.

Pousse-cafe means "coffee chaser" when translated from its French meaning. Creme de cassis is a type of drink considered to be a digestive, or digestif. It's served after a meal with coffee and dessert as it's thought to be good for the digestive system. In France, the cassis liqueur is also consumed before meals as an aperitif, which is drink served before a meal.

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