Last week, I wrote about a regional specialty of the Kir cocktail from the Lorraine region of France. This week, I’ll touch on the Kir Royale before finishing up with the classic Kir next week.
Last week, the Kir Royale Lorraine was a combination of white or sparkling wine and Eaux de vie de Mirabelle, a white brandy made from Mirabelle plums. While it is a delicious drink, I doubt you could walk into very many bars or restaurants in the United States and find a bartender who’d know how to make that cocktail. With the Kir Royale though, any bartender worth his or her salt should know this one by heart. Essentially it’s just crème de cassis and sparkling wine, but the real key to this drink is the quality of the ingredients that you use. Using cheap crème de cassis or substituting something like blackberry brandy will have truly atrocious results. Instead, grab a bottle of crème de cassis de Dijon from the original home of cassis liqueur, Dijon, France. As for your sparkling wine, this isn’t the time to be breaking out your best champagne, but don’t reach for the Cold Duck either. Using a Spanish cava or a French cremant is a great way to get an excellent sparkling wine at an affordable price point.
The Kir Royale is a great drink for a number of occasions. First, it makes a nice, low-alcohol option to serve instead of mimosas or bellinis at brunch. Second, because the ingredients won’t go bad, I like to keep a bottle of crème de cassis de Dijon and an affordable sparkling wine on hand in case of unexpected guests. It allows me to offer a sophisticated yet approachable cocktail at a moment’s notice, and I can make a batch of these just as quickly as I can pour them. Lastly, the Kir Royale is a nice option when you don’t care to drink something with a big alcoholic punch. Say I’m meeting the new boss and his wife for dinner, I’d much rather have a Kir Royale at the bar while I’m waiting to meet them than a martini or a margarita.
Whatever the case may be, the Kir Royale is a cocktail that needs to be in your repertoire. As a host, you’ll look far more sophisticated and elegant offering this drink as an aperitif at a dinner party, and it couldn’t be quicker to make this cocktail. Without further ado, here is the Kir Royale cocktail.
Kir Royale Cocktail
Makes one cocktail.
- ½ ounces crème de cassis de Dijon
- Sparkling wine
- Lemon twist (optional)
- In a flute or champagne coupe, add crème de cassis.
- Top with sparkling wine.
- Add lemon twist (optional.)