The weather is changing, and with it brings a change in meals and especially desserts. Tonight, I wanted to have cherry pie, and as I racked my memory and taste buds for what wine I wanted to enjoy with that (and indeed, questioned whether I presently owned it’s ideal wine), common sense struck me. The easiest, most reliably enjoyable drink to reach for when you’re having summer-fruit pie, is a cocktail.

This makes sense:

It’s Pie Season.

It’s time to have a brief, but comprehensive, diversion from wine and other non-dimensional cocktails.

It’s time to introduce something foreign, and yet familiar.

It’s time to give our tongue and our spirit flexibility.

It’s time to crank out the Crème de Cassis.


Crème de Cassis is a fruit liqueur, but one that our Fellowship can accept as being honest. Because, unlike most fruit liqueurs, it is not sweet; this is not just an interesting factor, but the determining one.

Cherry pie is sweet. Rhubarb pie is sweet. Blackberry/blueberry pie is sweet. You don’t need more sweets, nor do you want it. Balanced against these naturally sweet fruits, Crème de Cassis will deliver flavor that checks the tongue’s tendency to become fatigued with an abundance of sugar.

Also, as is always pointed out with wine, that which grows together, goes together. Crème de Cassis is a liqueur made from black currants, which if you’ve ever had them, you know is not sweet. But it is rich, earthy, full of tannins; and if you’re growing all these other pie fruits, you happen to know that black currants fit right into the growing profile.


This is great news. It means no finicky wines, no weird beer. Now, you’ll know precisely what to turn to.


We’re making the Ballet Russe (with a muzzle), as opposed to the more popular Kir or Kir Royale. Both of those involve adding sugar, which is contrary to our wants in general, and our needs in particular when facing down pie.

It’s beyond easy:

1- 1 shot of Crème de Cassis

2- 4 shots vodka

3- lots of lime juice

4- Add all to shaker; add ice; shake for a minute; strain into a rocks glass.

I’ll warn you—this can be a little strong and out of balance for some people who aren’t used to, or don’t super-love a bitter taste. If you need to give it a muzzle:

5- Add soda water to fill the rocks glass.

Now you have a drink that’s perfectly balanced for sweetness, and strength.


Enjoy, and let me know how you like it!



Print Recipe
Ballet de Russe
Ballet de Russe - a quick at satisfying cocktail perfect for tart desserts
Prep Time 5 min
Prep Time 5 min
Recipe Notes

Add a handful of ice to your cocktail shaker while you assemble your ingredients

Once you've got everything together, swill the ice around your shaker, and then pour out the melt.

Next, add another generous handful of ice to your shaker, and all your ingredients.

Shake like mad, for about a minute.

Strain and pour into two rocks glasses.

Top with soda water OR brut champagne

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