What can I use instead of crème de cassis? The best substitutes for crème de cassis are berry liqueurs, like crème de mûre, Chambord, XUXU, crème de cerise, and kirshwasser. Black currant syrup and extract are non-alcoholic alternatives.
Crème de cassis is a deep red, black currant liqueur, around 15% AVB. It has a tart, berry flavor, a fragrant, fruity aroma, and a spicy undertone.
Originating in Burgundy, France, nearly 200 years ago, crème de cassis makes a delicious aperitif and digestif and is a standard ingredient in the Kir and Kir royale. Add the liqueur to desserts. Here are the seven best substitutes for crème de cassis.
The Best Crème de Cassis Substitutes
Crème De Mûre
The best substitute for crème de cassis is crème de mûre. Crème de mûre is also a French berry liqueur, made from blackberries rather than black currants.
Containing juice, fruit, and blackberry extract, crème de mûre is sweeter and jammier than crème de cassis, but has a similar berry-forward flavor.
Like crème de cassis, crème de mûre is a so-called cream liqueur, indicating their high sugar content rather than a dairy component. French legislation requires these berry liqueurs to contain around 400g of sugar and 600g of fruit.
Crème de mûre combines with gin and lemon to make a Bramble cocktail and is delicious in a spritzer.
It also makes an excellent alternative to crème de cassis in a Kir and Kir royale, mixed with either white wine or sparkling wine.
Replace crème de cassis with equal quantities of crème de mûre, with the proviso that the blackberry liqueur is sweeter.
Chambord is an ideal alternative to crème de cassis.
Chambord is a famous brand of French raspberry liqueur, based on a recipe dating back 500 years. Louis XIV is said to have enjoyed this cognac-based liqueur at the Chateau de Chambord.
There are many raspberry liqueurs, or crème de framboise varieties. However, Chambord is unusual because it contains raspberries, blackberries, black currants, vanilla, citrus peel, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
Chambord has an intense berry flavor with a similar sweet-tart profile to crème de cassis.
Use it to make a French martini or a Kir Royale, or enjoy it over ice as a digestif. You can also use Chambord to flavor desserts, especially gateaux.
Use Chambord in equal measures to crème de cassis.
Crème de cassis can also be replaced by strawberry liqueur, the best brand being XUXU.
XUXU is a German brand of strawberry liqueur made using a nineteenth-century recipe in Bavaria. The liqueur consists of vodka with mashed strawberries and lime, with at least 66% fruit.
Unlike many French berry liqueurs, there is no added sugar, so it retains a fresh, fruity flavor.
Replace crème de cassis with XUXU in a French martini, Kir-style cocktails, and spritzers. This liqueur is also ideal neat as a digestif.
Because of its strawberry-rich flavor, XUXU is excellent in cheesecake, trifle, and stirred into ice cream.
Use XUXU an equivalent substitute for crème de cassis.
Crème De Cerise
Another tasty alternative to crème de cassis is crème de cerise or cherry liqueur.
Also known as cherry brandy, crème de cerise is made the same way as other berry liqueurs, by macerating grain spirits with cherry juice, sugar, and other flavorings.
This dark red liqueur can be flavored with sweet or sour cherries, creating a variety of cherry liqueurs.
Guignolet crème de cerise is made from guignolet cherries, for example, and has a typically sweet, dried-fruit flavor. Romanian Vișinată is a sour cherry liqueur.
To replace crème de cassis, use a sweeter cherry liqueur. Crème de cerise is excellent in a Singapore Sling, with tequila and gin preventing it from being cough-syrup sweet.
It makes lovely Kir cocktails spritzers and is a perfect baking ingredient, especially for cheesecakes, trifles, and chocolate cakes.
Use crème de cerise to replace crème de cassis 1:1.
Kirschwasser is a delicious substitute for crème de cassis.
Kirschwasser or kirsch is a traditional German cherry brandy rather than a berry liqueur. It differs from cherry liqueurs in that the sour Morello cherries and their juice are distilled, not just used as a flavoring for other liquor.
This process makes it less syrupy than berry liqueurs, with a far tarter, crisper mouthfeel and a clear, vodka-like color.
Being a brandy, Kirsch is much higher in alcohol than crème de cassis, around 40-50%. It has an acidic, sour flavor and an intense aroma, so it is best used as a substitute for crème de cassis when served chilled as an aperitif or digestif.
Kirsch is also useful as an addition to baked goods, especially in Black Forest gateaux, Gugelhupf, and fruit cake.
Replace crème de cassis with Kirsch in equal amounts, knowing it is more potent.
Black Currant Syrup
For a non-alcoholic alternative to crème de cassis, use black currant syrup.
Berry syrups are commercially available and made from sugar, water, and fresh berries. Black currant syrups include lemon juice, black currant extract, and coloring agents.
Black currant syrup adds flavor to mocktails, spritzers, and smoothies. Drizzle it over ice cream or cheesecake.
Replace crème de cassis with black currant syrup in high-alcohol cocktails like a Tequila Sunrise or a wine-based Cardinal.
Use black currant syrup as a direct replacement for crème de cassis, but be aware that the syrup is sweeter and less complex in flavor than the liqueur.
Black Currant Extract
Try black currant extract if you need a non-alcoholic substitute for crème de cassis.
Food extracts and essences add depth of flavor, so black currant essence adds a layer of sweetness to bakes and desserts.
Use only a few drops of black currant extract to replace crème de cassis for mocktails, bakes, and fruit desserts.
Note that the substitute adds flavor but not moisture, so you must add water or juice to make up the necessary liquid.
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