First-ever cassis relaunched in UK with new packaging


Lejay Creme de Cassis

The first-ever cassis liqueur – made with French blackcurrants and used in the original Kir cocktail – has been relaunched in the UK through IndieBrands.

Lejay Crème de Cassis, which was created in Dijon in 1841, uses the same original recipe but is being revived by owner Lejay-Lagoute with new packaging for its distinctive historic bottle.

Using a spirit distilled from French sugar beet, it is 100% made with French blackcurrants which are macerated for two months and combined with a blackcurrant bud infusion and sugar. It has ABV of 18%.

Now made by several liqueur producers, cassis was invented by Auguste-Denis Lagoute who was inspired by the then-popular liqueur, ratafia, made of fruits and spices. The product was at the heart of the business that became Lejay-Lagoute.

Lejay is one of only a small number of producers allowed to make crème de cassis de Dijon, recognised by the National Institute of Origin and Quality with the “Geographical Indication” classification and protected by French law since 1908.

Lejay Crème de Cassis was used by Canon Felix Kir, Dijon’s mayor from 1945 to 1968, in a drink mixing it with white wine, called a Kir. In 1951, Lejay secured the trademark for Kir and, by extension, Kir Royale throughout the world except the UK.

The brand was relaunched with its new look in the USA two years ago and, after the UK launch at The Rev JW Simpson bar in London last night, it is set to be introduced in France in June.

It is being promoted in the UK for use in cocktails, from classics such as a Kir through to original recipes. At The Rev JW Simpson and other bars in the Bourne & Hollingsworth (B&H) Group, it is on the menu this month in the Va-Va-Voom, where it is combined with cold-brew coffee, raspberry puree and Araku coffee liqueur.

Bartenders James Anderson, assistant group bars manager at B&H Group, and Sarah Mitchell of Junkyard Golf Club at the Old Truman Brewery in east London will be supporting the launch as part-time brand ambassadors alongside Lejay’s global brand ambassador, Donatien Ferrari.

IndieBrands is also distributing the more intense 20% ABV variant of the cassis, Noir de Bourgogne, as well as other liqueurs in the Lejay range which includes crème liqueurs of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, apricot and peach.

Lejay-Lagoute is also launching Lejay Blackcurrant Bitters, made from blackcurrants, blackcurrant buds and spices. It is also producing small tubs of “pepper” made from blackcurrant buds for use in cocktails.

The focus for IndieBrands will be on the 18% ABV Lejay Crème de Cassis which is smooth, fruity and fresh – making it suitable for drinking neat with an ice cube.

It is made from blackcurrants mainly grown in Burgundy but also in the Loire Valley, the Rhône Valley and l’Oise. It is made with two varieties of blackcurrant, the aromatic Noir de Bourgogne and the smoother, slightly sweeter Black Down.

Available in 35cl and 70cl bottles, it will have the recommended price in retail of £22.99 for 70cl.

Lejay Creme de Cassis

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