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Black Currant Cordial

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Learn how to make black currant cordial, a refreshing summer drink similar to the popular Ribena.

The black currant season is short, and I try to make the most of it. However, I wish I had another bush in the garden so that I could make more; I love these berries. So this year, I’ve made black currant cordial and Black Currant Cake again. And the most amazing Black Currant Ice Cream you can imagine. I was lucky enough to pick more berries from a friend’s garden so that I could make some jam and jelly.

diluted black currant cordial with sparkling water and ice cubes in a small glass.

I make different kinds of syrup every summer, from the Elderflower or the Rhubarb Syrup in spring to Mint or Strawberry Syrup and so on. Actually, I’ve made syrup using most types of berries that grow around here. I really can’t remember ever buying syrup during the last 10 years or so; making syrup is so easy, and there are so many sorts you can try.

Black currant cordial is one of my favorite sorts. I used to buy it when we lived in England, the Ribena brand is very popular there, but I forgot about it when we came back to Germany. Until the bush in our garden finally started to give us enough berries to be able to do something with them.

collage of two pictures of homemade cordial in a bottle and in a glass.

What’s best about this cordial recipe?

  • It allows you to use as many berries as you have. When you harvest berries in your garden, it’s difficult to say you will be able to pick precisely one or two kilos.
  • This recipe requires you to barely cover the currants with water, which means you will not have to measure, convert or scale anything.
  • Once you’ve strained the cooked berries, you will have to measure the juice and add sugar accordingly: 500 g/ 1.1 lb/ 2 ½ cups sugar for each liter juice. With a bit of simple math, you will always know exactly how much sugar to use.
  • You are left to decide how much lemon juice to use, but that is not so vital. Some people leave it out entirely; I don’t; it adds a bit of extra flavor. I use about 2-3 tablespoons per liter of juice.

two glasses of diluted black currant syrup served with ice and a bottle behind.

What do you need to make the syrup?

  • Black currants:
    • I had 2 kg/ 4.4 lb. As mentioned above, you can use as many berries as you have.
  • Sugar:
    • 500 g/ 1.1 lb sugar for each liter of juice. You will measure the obtained liquid after cooking the berries and add sugar accordingly.
  • Lemon juice

collage of two pictures of a bowl of berries, sugar and one lemon.

How to make black currant cordial?

  • Prepare the berries: Rinse in a sieve under cold running water. Remove the stems. Place in a pot. Mash lightly with a potato masher.
  • Cook: Add just enough water to cover them barely; they should not swim. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer on medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Mash again with the potato masher.
  • Strain through a sieve lined with a clean muslin cloth. Press gently to release the juices. The less you press, the clear the syrup, and the smaller amount of liquid you will get.
  • Measure the juice. Pour it into the clean pan. Add 500 g/1.1 lb/ 2 ½ cups granulated sugar and 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for each liter liquid.
  • Bring to a boil again, constantly stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat as soon as the cordial comes to a boil.
  • Pour into sterilized bottles using a funnel. Close the bottles and let cool undisturbed on the counter on a folded kitchen towel.

homemade dark red homemade syrup in a small bottle.

How to store?

Once cool, store the bottles in the refrigerator; the cordial will keep for at least 2-3 months. Once you open a bottle, consume it within 2 weeks or so. Always check the bottles before consuming the cordial. If you notice “clouds” or mold on top of the syrup or in the bottle, discard it.

How to serve black currant cordial?

  • Diluted with water (I prefer sparkling water) to taste.
  • Use for making cocktails or mocktails. For example, pour some in a tall glass and top with sparkling wine, gin, vodka, and maybe more sparkling water. Add some ice cubes.
  • Drizzle over pancakes, crepes, rice pudding, ice cream, or other desserts.
  • Make a milkshake by mixing it with milk.

black currant syrup diluted with sparkling water in glass.

More ways of preserving summer berries:

two glasses of diluted black currant syrup served with ice and a bottle behind.

Black Currant Cordial

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Learn how to make black currant cordial, a refreshing summer drink similar to the popular Ribena.

Ingredients

  • 2 kg/ 4.4 lb black currants (Note 1,2)
  • water to barely cover the black currants
  • 500 g/ 1.1 lb/ 2 ½ cups sugar for each liter of juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for each liter of juice

Instructions

  1. Prepare: Rinse the black currants in a sieve under cold running water. Remove the stems. Place in a pot. Mash lightly with a potato masher.
  2. Cook: Add just enough water to cover the berries barely; they should not swim. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer on medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Mash again with the potato masher.
  3. Strain through a sieve lined with a clean muslin cloth, pressing gently to release the juices (Note 3).
  4. Measure the juice and pour it into the clean pan. Add 500 g/1.1 lb/ 2 ½ cups granulated sugar and 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice for each liter juice.
  5. Bring to a boil again, constantly stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat as soon as the cordial comes to a boil.
  6. Pour into sterilized bottles using a funnel. Close the bottles and let the syrup cool undisturbed on the counter on a folded kitchen towel.


Notes

  1. The recipe allows you to use as many berries as you have. You will not have to measure the water; use enough to cover the berries barely; they should not swim.
  2. After straining the liquid, measure it in a measuring jug and add sugar accordingly: 500 g/ 1.1 lb/ 2 ½ cups sugar for each liter juice. Next, add about 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice per liter of black currant juice.
  3. The less you press, the clear the cordial, but also the smaller amount of juice you will get.

judith

Wednesday 11th of August 2021

Hello Adina! I have a ton of black currants this year :)))). Uaually, I just load up a bottle of gin with the berries and let it "rip." It's great from day #1 until about a year or so. I just keep adding gin as it gets used up. HOWEVER!!! your recipe for creme de cassis sounds divine and I am determined to try it. My questions are: how do I store it, and did you ever mix it with other fruits? And is the abv change? (the gin I use is 47% abv) My mother made tutti fruiti by a similar method as yours. She just kept layering fruits and sugar in a dark earthenware crock. I'm definitely going to try the jam, too! Best regards!

Adina

Wednesday 11th of August 2021

Hi Judith. Nice that you have so many berries, they are great. I always store cassis in the cellar, so a dark cool place. I've never mixed it with other fruit, but I suppose it's possible. The vodka I use is 40%, so 47% is definitely ok. The jam is delicious as well, I hope you try it.

mjskitchen

Sunday 25th of July 2021

After going through your black current recipes I sure wish I could find a while bunch of black currents. I never see them at the markets here, but I'm going for a hunt. Love the cordial, the ice cream, the muffins - they all look delicious!

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