Kir (Cocktail)

Kir, anyone?

Kir is a classic French cocktail made with black current liqueur or “crème de cassis” most often with white wine. When I visit my relative in France I am usually greeted with a Kir Royal (made with champagne), followed by a Kir every subsequent night until Saturday comes around and a Kir Royal is served again. This popular cocktail is named after Félix Kir who was mayor of Dijon from 1945 until 1968. The traditional drink uses a Bourgogne Aligoté white wine but it can be replaced by other dry white wines.  There are many variations:

  • Kir – 1/5 crème de cassis & 4/5 dry white wine
  • Kir Royal – 1/5 crème de cassis & 4/5 champagne or crémant de Bourgogne (French sparkling wine)
  • Kir Breton – 1/5 crème de cassis & 4/5 breton apple cider (~5% alc.) 
  • Kir Médocain – 1/5 crème de cassis & 4/5 rosé wine
  • Cardinal – 1/5 crème de cassis & 4/5 red Bordeaux wine

The Kir is typically served in a wine glass whereas the Kir Royal is served in a champagne flute.  To prepare a perfect Kir, pour the crème de cassis first in the glass, then fill the glass with the wine, cider or champagne.  (If you add the liquor after the wine, you will need to swirl the drink to mix the two ingredients, which isn’t done easily with a champagne flute).

I like to use Gabriel Boudier’s crème de cassis. The House of Boudier is based in Dijon, France, and has been making drinks since 1874. The liquor comes in a square edge bottle with a colorful Belle Époque label. A beautiful, timeless drink. 

Le Filet Filt – A French must have!

Le Filet Filt, since 1860

My lovely neighbor (who knows I love everything French) surprised me with a Filet Filt filled with French goodies (more on that in another post). These 100% cotton reusable bags, sometimes called “filet à provision”, are made in Normandy by Filt, a company that has been manufacturing nets and ropes since 1860. Filt was started by Norman workers who knit and braided ropes for mussel farming and fishing. They have been used by grandmothers (mine included) to shop at the farmers market and carry other things. The Filt reusable bag has all the things I love about my favorite French products:

  • it is well made – check
  • made in France – check
  • eco-friendly – check (100% cotton and reusable)
  • timeless – check.It’s been used for generations, which means that it won’t go out of style next year
  • Plus it is super light, very sturdy (it will carry your California grown watermelon), and easy to carry around (easily stored in a purse, no need to fold it like a canvas bag)

La Pétanque

Pétanque is one of France’s most popular outdoor games. The sport originated in Provence, in the south of France, and its name means “planted feet” in an old Provençal dialect. Pétanque is traditionally played with all-metal boules (balls) on a flat compacted dirt or gravel. There are very specific rules if you are a professional, but if you’re having fun with friends at home or at the park you can follow these easy instructions:

  • Form two teams of two, three, or four players
  • The first team tosses the cochonnet down the court. Cochonnet (“little pig” in French) is a small wooden ball. The player who tossed the cochonnet tosses the first boule.
  • Teams alternate tossing the boules one by one. The goal is to try to get the closest to the cochonnet, or to knock the opponents boules away from the cochonnet and thereby becoming the closest.
  • The closest team scores points for each boule closer than the opposing team’s boules.
  • The first team with seven points win.