If you need Crème de Cassis for Kir Royale or a tasty dessert but can’t find it or need an emergency substitute, there are lots of great alternatives.
In this article, we are going to discuss what you can use instead of Crème de Cassis.
What is Crème de Cassis?
Crème de Cassis is a French liqueur made with blackcurrants.
It is served as an after-dinner liqueur and it is also an ingredient in cocktails, such as Kir Royale.
It originated in Dijon, Burgundy in France. The name “cassis” comes from the French word for blackcurrant, the primary ingredient.
Like many French liqueurs, it was originally a drink made in monasteries by monks as far back as the 16th Century.
Today, it is still made in Burgundy but it is also made outside of France in countries like England and Canada.
Traditional Burgundian Crème de Cassis, which now has PGI status (protected geographical indication) is called Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne.
It must be made in the Burgundy region and adhere to various standards, such as a minimum quantity of berries used in the production.
Crème de Cassis made in Dijon is specifically called Crème de Cassis de Dijon.
What Crème de Cassis tastes like
The main ingredient or flavor of Crème de Cassis is blackcurrant.
It is made from crushed blackcurrants soaked in alcohol, with added sugar.
Crème de Cassis alcohol levels
The alcohol levels in Crème de Cassis vary depending on what brand you buy.
Most are around 15% ABV, but alcohol levels can vary between 15-20% ABV.
Crème de Cassis substitutes
If you don’t have Crème de Cassis, you can substitute Crème de Cassis in cocktails with other berry and fruit liqueurs, syrups and flavored brandy:
Chambord is a French liqueur made from red and black raspberries, blackcurrants, Madagascar vanilla, citrus peel, honey, cognac and spices.
The juice is extracted from the berries and mixed with French spirits to infuse. Then, there is a second berry infusion.
After six weeks and a double infusion, the berries are delicately pressed to capture all of the natural juices.
In the final stage, the infused base is blended with the other flavors (Madagascar vanilla, citrus peel, honey, cognac and spices).
Chambord makes an excellent substitute for Crème de Cassis. It has a very similar flavor profile – dark berries with a spirit base. It can be used as an alternative in most cases.
Crème de Framboise/rasberry liqueur
Crème de Framboise is a French raspberry liqueur.
Rasberry liqueur is made by soaking macerated rasberries in alcohol to extract the flavors. Sugar is added later.
There are many brands to choose from, such as Monin, L’Heritier Guyot, and Briottet.
Crème de Framboise is not a perfect substitute as it is rasberry flavored rather than blackcurrant; however, if you like rasberries or if rasberries are complementary to your recipe, it can make an excellent alternative to Crème de Cassis.
Crème de Mûre
Crème de Mûre is a French liqueur made from blackberries. The word “mûre” is French for blackberry.
It can be an excellent alternative to Crème de Cassis. It has a sweet but slightly tart concentrated berry flavor. Its deep, almost black, berry color is very similar to Crème de Cassis.
Kirsch is a colorless brandy made from morello cherries.
Kirsch is not sweet, so it is not an exact substitute for Crème de Cassis. Nevertheless, use as a substitute where a cherry flavor vs blackcurrant is complimentary to a recipe.
Add some simple sugar syrup to add the missing sweet element.
Non-alcoholic substitutes for Crème de Cassis
If you prefer a non-alcoholic alternative to Crème de Cassis, there are lots of fruit-flavored substitutes that ensure you can enjoy the flavors of Crème de Cassis without the alcohol.
Blackcurrant syrup or cordial
Blackcurrant syrup or cordial is a natural choice as a non-alcoholic substitute for creme de cassis because it has the same main ingredient. It’s sweet, tangy, and captures the essence of blackcurrants.
Blackberry syrup is another good alternative. It is rich and sweet with concentrated berry flavors.
It isn’t an exact flavor match, but the deep color and berry flavors should work as a substitute for most recipes.
The sweet but tart berry flavors of raspberry syrup can be a good alternative. It isn’t an exact flavor or color match, but the if you like raspberries it can be an excellent substitute.
If you like cherries, cherry syrup can make a good Crème de Cassis non-alcoholic alternative. It is sweet and tart and similar in color to Crème de Cassis.
Crème de Cassis and champagne
Crème de Cassis is synonymous with Champagne.
Mixed together, Crème de Cassis and Champagne is known as a Kir Royale cocktail.
Kir Royale originated, once again, in Burgundy, France. The Mayor of Dijon, Felix Kir, created the Kir cocktail by blending Crème de Cassis with white Burgundy wine (Chardonnay).
Over time, the white wine was replaced with Champagne and became known as Kir Royale.
If you are reading this article, you may specifically be seeking a substitute for Crème de Cassis for a Kir Royale recipe.
Any of the substitutes listed above can be used instead, but some ingredients are more suitable or classic than others for mixing with Champagne.
So, let’s go through some classic ingredients to mix with Champagne instead of Crème de Cassis.
Kir Imperial is a simple but classic Champagne cocktail that mixes Chambord and Champagne.
Simply substitute Chambord for Crème de Cassis in the recipe you are using.
Alternatively, see how to make a classic Kir Imperial in the super short video below:
The Sloe Royale mixes Champagne with sloe gin. A classic winter or holiday cocktail that is easy to make and sure to impress your friends and family.
The Bellini traditionally mixes peach puree with Prosecco, but you can, of course, use Champagne instead. It is the perfect brunch or celebratory cocktail.
Crème de Cassis vs Chambord
Chambord is a French liqueur made from red and black raspberries, blackcurrants, Madagascar vanilla, Moroccan citrus peel, honey and cognac. Crème de Cassis, as previously discussed, is a blackcurrant liqueur.
So, Chambord is not exactly the same as Crème de Cassis, but it is a good substitute for Crème de Cassis in cocktails.
Grenadine vs Crème de Cassis
Crème de Cassis is not the same as Grenadine.
Grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup that is usually made from pomegranates. Crème de Cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur.