Vermont Cassis

A glass of Vermont Cassis is set next to the bottle.

PUTNEY — With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the time has come to crack into wines and liqueurs to pair with chocolate, desserts and champagne — lovely floral and earthy flavor profiles to counter the dark, heavy evenings and deep snow.

Putney Mountain Winery and Spirits out of Putney creates handcrafted small-batch Vermont Cassis, a french-inspired black currant liqueur made from freshly-harvested Vermont black currants and neutral distillate. The result of the blend is a rich, almost creamy weight that gently coats the glass and spirals flamelike when poured into a glass of champagne for the classic Kir Royale.

Served chilled, the Vermont Cassis emanates floral and earthy notes of black berry, light mint and dark iron-fruit, and rests heavily in the sinuses while remaining bright, mouthwatering and confrontational in its bouquet.

First tastes of the Vermont Cassis, when served straight or on the rocks, awaken and inspire the palate with notes of strong, deep, dark berry. It has the weight of a liqueur without lingering or excess sugar to distract from the delicate and complex profile.

Heavy notes of black raspberry, overripe raspberries and tannins from the skins of the black currant present boldly on the palate but the sip finishes dry and refreshingly stark and tart.

Vermont Cassis is the champion of dark, bittersweet and milk chocolates, quenching the dryness left by the acid of cocoa with a formidable burst of berry that delicately coats the tongue, a perfect sip to illuminate the floral notes of the chocolate.

This liqueur can be added to any light, neutral wine for a mixed drink, but transforms subtly-layered profiles of sparkling wines and vinho verdes into especially refreshing cocktails perfect for summertime or a Sunday lunch.

Once chilled, the texture of Cassis becomes more dense and makes an excellent accompaniment to vanilla ice cream and shaved lemon ice or simply with fresh, whipped cream and berries.

Vermont Cassis is also a wonderful dinner companion as a sauce or marinade for fattier fish, such as a cedar plank salmon, and deepens the complexity of wine sauce reductions to serve with caramelized cipollini onions and red meat or roast pork.

As the Cassis contains spirits, it is an easy chiller that won’t freeze when placed in the freezer, and the spirit preserves it much longer than wine keeps, making it a versatile companion for weeks on end that won’t oxidize.

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