We had a great crop of black currants this year despite the ongoing drought. This meant that I had a little bit of room for experimenting and decided after making the jam to have a go at making my own Ribena, a european black currant syrup that you use by adding plain or soda water to for a refreshing drink. I used this recipe from Canuck Cuisine which seemed to work well, and I water bath canned it as I would jam or jelly since the amount of sugar should keep the syrup preserved. This worked well, and I ended up with about 9 quarts of syrup which worked well with both water and soda.
Even better though, was my "invention" of a drink I later discovered can be called a "Witches Cocktail", "Blackcurrant Bramble" or "Blackcurrant Gin Fizz". My version is Ribena with a gin and tonic on ice and as you can see it was very refreshing on a hot summers day!
½lb white sugar, or alternatives: coconut palm sugar, sucanat, or rapadura (use slightly more, or less sugar according to your taste)
1 cup of water
Pour the blackcurrants into a sink filled with water and skim off impurities like leaves and floating twigs, then drain the water. Transfer the blackcurrants into large cooking pots, filling about ¾ of the way up. Pour in the sugar and water and mix. Set the heat on medium and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes, until all the juices run.
Remove from heat and let cool enough to handle comfortably. Pass the mixture though a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Pour into sterylized bottles, or freeze in plastic bags, or containers for later use.
Will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Use frozen syrup within 3 months.
To serve, dilute the syrup in water, to taste.