The modern version of the beverage first appeared in 1841, when it displaced "ratafia de cassis," which had been produced in prior centuries.
It is made from blackcurrants that are crushed and soaked in ethanol, with sugar subsequently added. While crème de cassis is a specialty of Burgundy, it is also made in Anjou, Luxembourg and Quebec.
The quality of crème de cassis depends upon the variety of fruit used, the content of the berries, and the production process. If it is labelled "Crème de Cassis de Dijon," one is guaranteed berries from the commune of Dijon. Since 1997, a syndicate has tried to obtain an "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" for "Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne," which would guarantee the origin and variety of berries and the quantity of berries used in its production.
Nearly 16 million litres of crème de cassis are produced annually. It is consumed mostly in France but is also exported.