Creme de cassis is one of those (often ugly and somewhat sad) bottles you see relegated to the back shelves of liquor stores. Sweet, pungent and typically cloying, it’s most famous for its role in the fizzy, pretty Champagne cocktail Kir Royale, adding a nice reddish tint but very little by way of flavor.
But what we Americans know as creme de cassis is more often than not simply cassis (what we in America call "blackcurrant") liqueur. And as The New York Times reported, the real deal—fiercely regulated and called crème de cassis de Dijon—is now available stateside for the first time. The difference in taste between cassis and creme de cassis de Dijon is profound.