The Most Ladylike Cocktail of All Time!

I was introduced to the delicious cocktail by my sophisticated Swiss friends as soon as I set foot in Geneva – I had just reached legal drinking age and I immediately became a Kir / Kir Royal addict! At apéritif time, Kir was our drink of choice and on special occasions, Kir Royal, Kir`s more salubrious cousin.

The roots

This popular French aperitif of crème de cassis and white wine has long been a favorite in France, but it didn’t get its name until after World War II. Felix Kir, the mayor of Dijon from 1945 to 1968, was a huge fan of the cocktail, and whenever he entertained visiting dignitaries, he’d invariably serve them the drink. Kir did such a good job pushing the mixture onto his visitors that it eventually became inextricably linked with his personality, and that’s why the cocktail bears his name today.

Kir is traditionally served with the local white wine of Dijon, white Burgundy, while Kir Royal is served with champagne or sparkling wine.

In France Kir is served in a regular small white wine glass and Kir Royal in a Champagne flute.

You can also vary the wine, but it is important to choose a dry, high-acid, unoaked and non-aromatic wine. Fairly simple and relatively inexpensive wines work best.

Contrary to popular belief, neither Kir nor Kir Royal should be very sweet or very deeply colored drinks. The perfect combination should result in a drink that is a pale blush color, crisp, refreshing, with a delicate blackcurrant flavor and only slightly sweet — just sweet enough to take the edge off the wine’s acidity, but not seem syrupy. Too much liqueur addition destroys the necessary freshness to work as an apéritif and makes the drink too sweet and alcoholic.

The makin’s

5 parts of champagne or sparkling wine

½ part of crème de cassis

The drill

You don’t really mix this drink. Instead, you “build” it in the serving glass: Pour the sparkling wine into a champagne flute

Then add the crème de cassis


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