Make this crowd pleaser for winter parties. Add a splash to a glass of prosecco or use it in mixed drinks and sparkling water. You can use other edible berries like red currants, chokecherries, gooseberries, cranberries, or even frozen blackberries.
MAKES 1–2 PINTS
2 cups water
4 cups black currants or other edible berries
1 cup sugar or honey
Bring water to boil in a large stainless-steel pot. In a separate bowl, lightly crush the berries then add them to the boiling water. Boil the berries until they turn pale in color, about 10–15 minutes. Smush the berries against the sides of the pot a few times while boiling.
Have a second pot ready with a strainer and cheesecloth. Pour the boiled berry pulp through the cheesecloth and let it drain without squeezing for a clearer juice.
Once strained, bring the juice to boil and skim off any foam from the surface. Stir in the sugar or cool the juice slightly and stir in the honey instead. Pour into bottles while still hot and store in the refrigerator or freezer, making sure you leave room for expansion if you freeze.
BLACK CURRANT PULP JAM AND FLAVORED VODKA
Your leftover berry pulp is great for your compost, but you can also turn it into a jam or flavored vodka. Do not use chokecherry pulp in this manner as the seeds are toxic.
To make the jam: Crush the pulp with your blender, place in a stainless-steel pot, add sugar to taste (1:1 is the classic ratio), and boil for about 15 minutes. You can then freeze or heat-process the jam in jars.
For the vodka: Cover the leftover pulp with vodka and a little sugar or honey to sweeten. Let steep for a week or so, shake to mix it up daily, strain the pulp out, and bottle. I like to add a few fresh berries to the mix; if you’re out of fresh ones, frozen will do. If they’re currants, crush them lightly for better extraction.