As a birthday gift a few years ago, my dad got me a 100-year-old cookbook with recipes from the White House. As I glanced through the brittle pages, I came across a whole section on old-fashioned fruit wines. These aren’t wines in the way that we understand winemaking, but instead consist of fresh fruit that has been crushed and soaked in spirits for several weeks and then finished with a bit of sugar.

Our version uses fresh currants, bourbon, spices and brown sugar to create a drink that is tasty chilled and sipped. At my house this comes out on hot summer days or around Christmastime with a plate of cheese and pickles. Try making this with black currants as well.

By / Photography By D. Lucas Landis | July 05, 2017


Remove the fresh currants from their stems and place the fruit in a bowl. Use your hands to crush the berries. Pour the bourbon into a large glass jar that has a rubber lid or place a piece of wax paper between the metal lid and the spirit mixture. Pour the crushed currants into the glass bottle. Add the cloves and cinnamon stick. Place in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks.

Strain out the currants and the spices. Add the sugar and stir. Cover and let sit in the same place for 3 more weeks. Serve.

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I remember the first time I encountered currants. I was at the farmers market and discovered containers of red and white currants. I walked by, then stopped and went back for a closer look. I couldn't...

Strawberries and Currants in Wine

Try this traditional French preparation to enhance a less-than-stellar wine. Serve 
as a nice dessert to finish an outdoor summer meal.


  • 1 quart red currants
  • 750 milliliters bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
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