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Black Currants and Licorice
October 4, 2013 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I like two flavors that are not terribly popular in the US, but are liked abroad: black currant and licorice. I load up whenever I travel, and I have import sources for each (think of Ribena and Icelandic salt licorice). I've got imports covered. Are there US (not import) products that have these flavors that I'm not thinking of?

I get some black currant jam and black currant tea at the Whole Foods every once in a while, and licorices are not really hard to find, but are generally not really fantastic.

But just today, the galley at work had some "Stash" brand licorice herbal tea that was pretty nice--and licorice tea wasn't something I had ever thought about. On a recent trip to DC, I had a cocktail at Zatinya (PDF of drinks menu) with an actual licorice stick that was really great--due in no small part to the delightful experience of gnawing on the licorice stick. It really was just a twig in my drink, yum! And of course, there's a Kir Royale with creme de cassis, and pastis/ouzo, etc. Altoids had a licorice candy for a while, but I haven't seen another US candy with real licorice zing to it.

Can you recommend other US products* (food or drink) that will give me my currant and licorice fix?

Again, I'm aware that these are flavors much more common abroad--I don't need you to recommend salmiak/ki or Lakerol cassis pastilles (some of which are sitting on my desk). I'm looking for US products that might be more convenient or less expensive than buying abroad or in the import aisle.

*Though to be clear, I'd count something like pastis or ouzo that are commonly available in the US at competitive prices as a "US product" for this purpose--I'm just trying to avoid paying five dollars plus shipping for a little box of candy.
posted by Admiral Haddock to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love Yogi Tea's licorice teas: Egyptian Licorice and Egyptian Licorice Mint. Give them a try if you liked the Stash one.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:48 PM on October 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Good and Plenty?
posted by Quack at 12:50 PM on October 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a huge blackcurrant fan, but not so much the licorice, so let's hope someone else can help you on that score.

Asian markets in the U.S. often have Ribena and blackcurrant-based candies. Also Trader Joes sometimes carries blackcurrant pastilles.

I've also found blackcurrant syrups at Whole Foods and other local foodie grocery stores.

Also, don't miss that many places sell as cassis, and not as blackcurrant flavor.

Speaking of which, my favorite cassis liqueur is a very clear and tart version by Clear Creek. It's a bit spendy, but the flavor is out of this world. I've been able to find it/order it at higher end liquor stores in the U.S.
posted by kalessin at 12:50 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Licorice toothpaste.

Absolut Kurant vodka.

I have a fair amount of luck finding black currant juice at international markets. Both in a tetra-pack sort of container as well as glass bottles.

There was a black currant mentos flavor. It was limited edition and I never could find it IRL. But, I'm sure that they were delightful.
posted by quince at 12:54 PM on October 4, 2013


Have you tried the licorice flavored altoids? They are crazy good.
posted by fshgrl at 12:55 PM on October 4, 2013


Knudsen makes a black currant nectar here in the states that, to my mind, takes very similar to Ribena.
posted by mittens at 1:01 PM on October 4, 2013


My beloved Vermont Country Store sells Goetze's Licorice Bullseyes and Black Taffy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:08 PM on October 4, 2013


Seconding the Knudsen black currant juice.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:10 PM on October 4, 2013


Anise Absinthe candies

Anise drops
(French, but available with Amazon Prime)

Black Jack gum

Anise Gummy Bears

Almond Anise Biscotti

Throat Coat Tea and Lozenges

Anise Cookies

Anise Soap
(with Sandlewood)
posted by barnone at 1:13 PM on October 4, 2013


There is a thing called cachou which you can sometimes turn up in stores selling French and/or Italian products; it is very licorice-y. Cachou Lajaunie is probably the best-known, but there are a lot of more obscure brands, especially Italian, that will turn up once you are looking. They are all tiny black specks meant for freshening the breath. Like Sen-Sen, which would be a more authentically US interpretation of the idea.

Fox's Blackcurrant is easy to get in Asian import shops in Canada, and if you enjoy Ribena it is worth your time to find Vimto. The Buddy Fruits brand of baby food has a blackcurrant "fruit bites" product.
posted by kmennie at 1:14 PM on October 4, 2013


From the makers of Rescue Remedy, Bach Rescue Pastilles come in black currant. They hardly taste medicinal and I have to remind myself not to munch on them like candy.
posted by nathaole at 1:15 PM on October 4, 2013


The Nordic Sweets salty Licorice Fish that I pick up at the Ikea checkout. Also apparently at Amazon.
posted by rabidsegue at 1:23 PM on October 4, 2013


Trader Joe's recently started selling black currant juice.
posted by capsizing at 1:30 PM on October 4, 2013


Have you tried horehound? It's not quite the same as licorice but it does have a strong herbal flavor you might like.

Unfortunately, it is the five dollars plus shipping you are not looking for at the Amazon link I provided. I can't point you to a local source--their web site is pretty useless. I've seen them around in dedicated candy stores, though. You might keep your eye out for them.
posted by Quonab at 1:37 PM on October 4, 2013


Also there's Knudsen's Just Black Currant Juice.

Also also, if you go in the right season for your region, you may be able to buy black currants fresh at a farmer's market. At one time I made my own sauce out of that stuff. It takes a LOT OF SUGAR to get it out of uber tart zone and into edible zone, so be prepared. The Just Black Currant Juice is also very tart!
posted by kalessin at 1:39 PM on October 4, 2013


Ribena is sold in Costco in Canada. I see you're in Boston...you must have some Queeb friends...get them to bring it back for you after their next visit home.
posted by wutangclan at 1:43 PM on October 4, 2013


McCann's makes a really delicious black currant & almond instant oatmeal.
posted by town of cats at 1:45 PM on October 4, 2013


I enjoy Black Heart Licorice a great deal, and I am a fanatic for the licorice Hint Mints.

If you like hibiscus as well as licorice, this tea is phenomenal.
posted by gone2croatan at 1:50 PM on October 4, 2013


Fisherman's Friend (original flavor) is made with licorice powder. Yum!

Tiger tail ice cream has gooey stripes of licorice. Oh sweet licorice-loving jesus

Also any good gelato place will like have cassis and licorice (especially in the Italian area of town).

Tea: Yogi brand "Egyptian Licorice", or David's Tea brand "Licorice Twist".
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:53 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Creme de Cassis is made from black currents. (And it's really good added to a Tequila Sunrise.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:57 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lindemans' Cassis lambic is pretty easy to find where there's decent beer selection.
posted by kcm at 1:57 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you'll be in the Dallas area on Nov 1, Milwaukee Joe's Ice Cream will have licorice as their rotating daily flavor. Usually when they do this, they solicit in advance for people to order extra quarts, since they know licorice, while not the most popular flavor, has a very loyal and devoted fanbase.

Also, when you go to Indian restaurants there is a bowl of seeds there just like American restaurants might have after-dinner mints. Some of the seeds are fennel and anise. One of the guys near my cubicle at work uses these after lunch and it makes a delightful aroma of licorice in the air.
posted by CathyG at 2:18 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you live near a Cost Plus World Market, they're good for this kind of thing.
posted by karbonokapi at 2:25 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The VT Country Store Also Sells Bags Of All Liquorice Jelly Beans But I Don't Remember Who Makes Them.
posted by brujita at 2:35 PM on October 4, 2013


At the moment, I'm sucking on an Anise candy from Claey's Candies made in Indiana. Bought it at the drug store for a couple bucks. Edit: looks like their website isn't up anymore, but there are links to it. Someone linked their Horehound candy above, but $5 is way more than it costs at a store.
posted by thylacine at 3:07 PM on October 4, 2013


Eastern Shore Tea Company makes a tea called Black Raven that is black currant flavored. Ahmad does as well (English company but available in the U.S.).
posted by gudrun at 7:38 PM on October 4, 2013


Aveda Comforting Tea is a pretty good licorice-peppermint tea.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:32 PM on October 4, 2013


A lot depends on whether you're a stickler for licorice and not anise, because they ain't the same, even though outside the droposphere they're often conflated.

I've been able to find areek sous for not a massive amount of money from Eastern Med groceries. A little goes a looooong way.
posted by holgate at 9:46 PM on October 4, 2013


Seconding Cost Plus World Market

Licorice (31 results!)

Black currant

(Seems like they have more black currant stuff in the store than I'm seeing on the website.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:41 PM on October 4, 2013


I know this is not answering the question asked, because it doesn't look as if there's a US manufacturer, but... while I realise that you're fully supplied with sources of foreign liquorice and foreign blackcurrant, I'm concerned that you may not know that blackcurrant-and-liquorice sweets are a thing in the UK (and maybe also in Canada?). This seems like something you would perhaps be excited to know, even though you probably would have to pay $5 for a 100g bag to try. (I believe all linked retailers ship to the US or are planning to do so soon, except possibly for the Canadian one.)

Apologies if you did, in fact, already know this... in which case I'll attempt to redeem myself by thirding the recommendation of Yogi Teas.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:55 AM on October 5, 2013


Hope and Greenwood refused to ship boiled sweets to the US, claiming that the FDA didn't allow certain ingredients...and I went through a Kafka story when I shipped stuff through fedex instead of the post office.
posted by brujita at 9:10 AM on October 5, 2013


Jelly Belly jelly beans!
I guess Licorice & Wild Blackberry are their closest flavors.
posted by artdrectr at 2:36 AM on October 6, 2013


If you're into licorice booze, you might want to try Akvavit/Aquavit. Your local liquor store probably has at least once variety. It's a bit more complex-flavored than just licorice, but it's heavily flavored with anise and cardamom.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2013


You can try Russian food stores for black currant stuff, too. It's quite popular over there. And yes, I was surprised to find black currant juice at TJs as well.
posted by theRussian at 7:27 PM on October 11, 2013


I found "New Tree" Black Currant Pearls this weekend on a local Whole Foods-like grocery store (politics of this store are a little better than Whole Foods, thank g-d). Anyway, they're 'enrobed in Belgian Dark Chocolate' and they're expensive, at a small packet of 10-12 "pearls" is about $2.25. But the interesting thing is that we both felt like it tasted a little like licorice as well. So there's that too.

New Tree are the folks who do chocolate eating bars, by the way.
posted by kalessin at 8:07 AM on October 14, 2013


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