How to make a contemporary version of an old generic recipe of homemade blackcurrant cordial. Photos 23 June 2015.
Take a recipe from an old lady selling the fruit of her farm on a local market of the Auvergne region in France. If the recipe sounds like coming from the old ages when farm workers used to drink liters of wine everyday to perform their tasks in the absence of modern agricultural machinery, you are making a good start.
Replace the cheap generic table rosé wine in one liter twentieth century « six stars » returnable bottles imported from the super productive Languedoc Roussillon vineyards of the times with a 75cl bottle of a soundly marketed wine from the Auvergne. You are now making a major step towards a contemporary home-branded beverage made with locally sourced ingredients.
Use organic cane sugar, bottle in a nice container and add a well-designed handcrafted label. If you have purchased the ripe blackcurrants to the lady on the market, or used your own-grown, you are fully making it happen: your produce will appeal to your family and friends who like your arty homemade and will enjoy the cordial for its taste, nurturing qualities and highest standards of local making.
I must say I am not sure to what extent the cordial will actually be much better than if made with standard rosé wine and caster sugar. People going for the old standard way will make a more economical and still delicious product. Yet if you are looking for something more trendy and sophisticated, well, go for it! Surely, the lovers of your region will be delighted.
The old and the new versions mainly differ by the origin and quality of the ingredients. The new version also contains more fruit and less sugar, in line with long term trends of jam and other sweet products making.
Old: a bowl of blackcurrant juice, a kilo of sugar and a liter of rosé wine.
New: a bowl of blackcurrant juice, 750g of organic cane sugar and a 75cl bottle of local wine with protected designation of origin (= AOP “Appellation d’Origine Protégée” or AOC “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée”) or geographical indication (= IGP “Indication d’Origine Protégée”).
To make the bowl of blackcurrant juice: take 500g of blackcurrants without stalks, quickly rinse them under water and put them in a saucepan over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pass through a fine sieve, or even better through a muslin, which will enable to avoid any deposit at the bottom of the bottle of cordial later on.
Mix the blackcurrant juice with the sugar and the wine in the saucepan and cook for 7 minutes from boiling point over a medium to high heat.
Pour in the clean bottles using a funnel (above quantities should fill one and a half 75cl bottles), cap immediately and that’s it!
How to use the cordial
The lady told me that the cordial would keep for one year. I would recommend that it should be used within six months as in any case taste tends to fade away with time.
The cordial can be drunk diluted to your own taste in a glass of still water. It can also be added to dry white wine to make a « kir », a traditional cocktail from Burgundy usually made nowadays with 4/5 of “bourgogne alligoté” and 1/5 of blackcurrant liquor.
Great with sparkling wine, water and lemonade too, and in many of the fruit creations you may think of. What about for instance a few drops of this cordial in a peach salad for a tasty and colored summer dessert?