|Founded in 1845, L'Héritier- Guyot is one of the oldest producers of crème de cassis in France, and today among the three largest. Owner of 40 acres of cassis orchards in the Côte d'Or bordering Vougeot are perfectly suited to cultivation of black currants, the firm enjoys a stability of supply and control of quality second to none.
The cassis berries are harvested and carefully crushed to avoid breaking the bitter seeds, immediately macerated in eau-de-vie, stopping oxidation, and then begin a process of extraction of color and aroma that lasts two months or more. Optimum proportions are 12.5 litres of 100-proof alcohol per 100 kilograms of fruit. Once infusion is complete, the liquid is drawn off the skins and seeds, sweetened with neutral beet sugar at a minimum of 400 grams per litre, adjusted for alcohol content, and gently stirred for several hours until the sugar is dissolved. This must by law be a completely natural process from start to finish. No fruit juice additives, colorings or flavorings of any kind are permitted to alter the slow maceration of the fruit. After resting for several days in lined, neutral vats, the crème de cassis is bottled.
Crème de Cassis, aside from its purity, is arguably the most healthful liqueur made. Black currants naturally contain one-half gram of vitamin C per hundred grams fruit, seven times that found in oranges. Vitamin C is oxidized very quickly, but if the fruit is processed immediately, a high degree remains preserved in the infusion, remaining suspended in the finished liqueur for 14 months or longer. Unopened bottles of crème de cassis should be stored away from heat and light, and once opened should be kept refrigerated and used as quickly as possible. Crème de Cassis will oxidize in two to six months, turning dark brownish and losing its fresh, fruity quality.