When I was young and trying to be fancy on the weekend, I’d order a Kir Royale at brunch. At 21, even brunch seemed like a novel idea at the time. Drinking at breakfast? Other than seeing my father mix himself a Bloody Mary while frying up some eggs on a Sunday, drinking before 3pm was unheard of growing up. Now, occasionally the odd Kir Royal pops up, usually it is at my in-laws and we’re doctoring up a bottle of champagne someone has given them as a gift. A bottle of champagne that clearly has been re-gifted because the original recipient also knew it was crap. An ancient bottle of Creme de Cassis sits at the back of their fridge just for these occasions. So why did I pick up a bottle recently? It was on my ‘to get’ list. I’d seen it listed in a particularly tasty cocktail someplace and I was reminded it would be a great ingredient in drinks other than the sweet covering up some bad bubbly.
My husband was on a liquor run for himself and had called to ask me if I needed anything, knowing probably there was something I wanted. I told him Creme de Cassis and without missing a beat he said Ok, he’d go look for some. When he was back he proudly showed me a handsome bottle acknowledging that he bought it because it’s price point suggested it was good stuff. “And look at the label!” he said, totally fancy pants.
I think this happened close to 4 months ago. To which, at least every few weeks, he turns to me asks when I’m going to make something with it.
A serious of unfortunate incidents led me to finally cracking it open the other night. First, my cantaloupe I was going to use had gone bad. Then my cherry syrup shattered. I found myself staring down at a bunch of bottles and just huffing to myself. And then I saw the Creme de Cassis and shrugged. I could use this; it’s fruity. I would sub this in for simple syrup.
The liqueur ended up being a very happy incident. So, working on a daiquiri variation, the first pass was too sharply tart. Bringing the lime juice down to 3/4 ounces on the next pass then rendered it not tart enough. It also felt it was lacking a missing flavor. Tarragon! I know that for some of you, this herb is scary, and completely useless in your kitchen. But really you need to give this herb some love, so, put it in a cocktail at least.
Adding tarragon not only gave it a lovely aroma, it toned the tartness down just enough so that it found balance.
2 oz. Oronoco white rum
1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. G.E. Massenez Creme de Cassis
8 tarragon leaves
In the bottom of your shaker, add the tarragon leaves and lime juice. Lightly crush with a muddler. Add ice 2/3 up the shaker. Pour in rum and creme de cassis. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
Magenta in color with flecks of tarragon throughout. The nose is berry and tarragon, or rather a subtle licorice smell if you’re unfamiliar with this herb. The cocktail itself is tart and sweet. More berry on the palate with a grassy aftertaste. Dry in the mouth but flavor profile is refreshing.