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.