The Kir Royale Cocktail – a True Taste of France
Consider yourself a wine-lover or a cocktail connoisseur? Then it’s likely that you’ve heard about the Kir Royale. This light, bubbly, drink was invented during the Second World War in France and has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity because of the popular Netflix drama, ‘Emily in Paris’.
Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur, a wine-lover, or simply just jumping on the trend, the Kir Royale is the blush pink drink that we can’t get enough of. If you know your cocktails, then you’ll likely know what separates the Kir and the Kir Royale, but if you don’t know the difference, then read on to find out everything about the luxurious, French, Kir Royale cocktail.
What is a Kir Royale?
The Kir Royale is a type of quintessentially French cocktail. Originating from the Burgundy region of France, it is made from champagne and crème de cassis.
What is in a Kir Royale?
The Kir Royale is made from a traditional Burgundian blackcurrant liqueur known as crème de cassis and topped up with a generous helping of champagne. Raspberries are often added to the glass to serve. In addition, sugar can be supplemented to sweeten the beverage to individual tastes.
Crème de cassis originates from Burgundy and is made from macerated blackcurrants, that are added to a type of fruit brandy called eau-de-vie. Once they have soaked for long enough, the skins of the blackcurrants are removed and sugar is added. The end result is a sweet blackcurrant liqueur with an alcoholic beverage volume of around 20%.
What is the difference between a Kir Royale and a Kir?
The Kir is a much less extravagant version of the Kir Royale and was invented first. The Kir combines two simple ingredients; a dry white wine made with Aligoté grapes, and Créme de Cassis. The Kir Royale on the other hand, is a carbonated drink that combines the crème de cassis with champagne. The Kir can be drunk at any time, whereas the Kir Royale is reserved for special occasions and celebrations.
How to Make a Kir Royale Cocktail?
It’s easy to buy a bottle of ready-made Kir Royale, but it can taste much better if you make it yourself! Traditionally sipped from a champagne flute, the Kir Royale is an elegant cocktail that’s best enjoyed at celebrations. The perfect Kir Royale should be a dusky pink colour, so that the crème de cassis doesn’t overpower the champagne.
When making a Kir Royale, it’s essential to pour the crème de cassis into the flute first, and then add the champagne. This allows the two components to mix properly, as the fizzy champagne disturbs the thick, viscous, blackcurrant liqueur in the bottom of the glass, evenly distributing it throughout the cocktail.
Kir Cocktail Recipe
Here’s the best recipe for a Kir Royale cocktail…
Crème de cassis
Sugar (to taste)
1. Prepare a champagne flute.
2. Fill 1/5 of the glass with Crème de Cassis
3. Fill up with 4/5 parts champagne, until the liquid is a blush colour.
4. Add 1 or 2 raspberries as a garnish.
5. If the Kir Royale isn’t sweet enough, add sugar and sweeten to your taste.
Tip: Leave half an inch of space at the top of the glass when adding the champagne and crème de cassis. Splitting the glass into 6 parts or so with your eye and leaving 1/6 parts empty will allow for a little gap at the top of the glass. This ensures that the Kir Royale cocktail doesn’t overflow from the flute when you add the raspberries and defends against spillages when you serve it to guests.
Why was the Kir Royale invented?
Before the Kir Royale was invented, the classic Kir was an incredibly popular drink. Named after Felix Kir, who was a Catholic priest during the Second World War and mayor of Dijon between 1945-1968, the Kir emulated red wine. You might be wondering why the French didn’t just drink red wine instead, but after the Nazis occupied France, they confiscated red wine from Burgundy.
The original Kir cocktail was produced in defiance of the Nazi invasion. After red wine was confiscated, Felix Kir became resourceful in his resistance of the Nazis, creating cocktails using whatever white wine he could find. Known for advocating the use of local ingredients, Kir is known for his many cocktail combinations, which include the Kir and the Kir Royale.
Why is it called a Kir Royale?
Named after Felix Kir, the Kir Royale is an upgraded version of the Kir cocktail, which uses white wine and crème de cassis rather than champagne and crème de cassis. The deluxe Kir Royale was given a more sophisticated name to reflect its more luxurious ingredients!
When should you drink a Kir Royale?
A Kir Royale is traditionally served before dinner as an aperitif. It can be served alongside appetisers or on its own at special occasions.
Can you have a Kir Royale without crème de cassis?
Crème de cassis is an essential part of the Kir Royale cocktail. If you want to add different components, then there have been many inventions varying on the original ingredients of the Kir Royale.
Here are some cocktail variations on the classic Kir:
- Kir Imperial: Champagne with raspberry liqueur.
- Kir Pêche: White wine with peach liqueur.
- Kir Breton: Brittany cider with Crème de Cassis.
- Kir Normandy: Normandy cider with Crème de Cassis.
- Cardinal: Crème de Cassis but topped with red wine instead of white wine.As a rule of thumb, variations on the Kir cocktail should not be too sweet, so using a dry wine or champagne is ideal. That said, many of these cocktails can be sweetened by adding more liqueur or sugar.
Cruise Champagne aboard Kir Royale and Panache
Why not sample a Kir Royale cocktail aboard Ultra Deluxe hotel barge, Kir Royale? Cruising the Champagne region throughout the season, the Ultra Deluxe 8 Passenger Kir Royale takes passengers through the extraordinary journey of the grapes in Champagne.
The barge is there at the beginning of the season, when the grapes are growing; in September when the grapes are being harvested; and later in the autumn, when the leaves fall and regeneration begins. The sweeping beauty of Champagne’s majestic countryside, blanketed with vineyards, is on full display, no matter what time of the season you cruise.
Hotel barge Panache also cruises Champagne from mid May to late June.