As we hit the peak summer months, a lot of us begin to think about how to preserve the bounty of nature’s harvest. Traditionally, one of the oldest methods has been to turn fruits, grains and vegetables into a variety of alcoholic beverages. You would think that blackcurrant liqueur (Cassis) has been around for at least several centuries. Not so. The version all of us recognize today has only been produced for about 175 years, beginning in the French regions of Burgundy and Anjou, then moving into other French-speaking regions of the world.
Until fairly recently, black currants were illegal to grow in many states due to a disease which they transferred to white pine trees. Understandably, the lobbyists in the lumber industry trumped any fruit farmers concerns, and in 1911 a law was passed literally killing off the expansive black currant industry around the country. In 2003, farmer Greg Quinn (also located in the same area as Tuthilltown) managed to repeal the law in New York State by demonstrating that new varieties of black currant are resistant to the White Pine Blister Rust blight. So, black currants are once again being legally grown here and are becoming one of the more popular fruit crops due to their high content of antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium.
Tuthilltown uses organic black currants grown at Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction, NY. Unusually, for a Cassis, they also include the leaves and stems along with the fruit in the fermentation process to give it more character. They then age their liqueur in oak barrels for three months before it’s bottled. This is their first expression of Cassis and as such is strictly limited to only 500 bottles.
Tuthilltown Cassis Liqueur (44 proof)
Visual: Dark ruby-red.
Nose: Dark berry and fruit.
Taste: Fresh and tangy berry fruit in a sweet, but not overly sugary base. Natural and luscious with a delicate balance between the alcohol and the fruit.
Finish: Fairly short with residual sweetness and just a touch of tannins, giving it a whole fruit sensibility.
Overall: Fresh, fruity and rustically beautiful.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Tuthilltown Spirits