Hosting an event and wondering how to make a great Kir Royale to impress your guests?
This berry-flavored Champagne cocktail is a classic, yet fun choice for any event. It’s made with creme de cassis (a blackcurrant liqueur) that acts as a sweetener and dresses up the wine perfectly.
Originating in Dijon, France, this cocktail has become a worldwide favorite, thanks to its enjoyable flavors and variations.
What kind of dry wine should you use for a Kir Royale? How can you make a classic Kir Royale even more interesting? Can you swap the black currant liqueur for anything else?
Let’s walk through the story of Kir Royale, how to make it, and some awesome tips on how to put your spin on this delicious cocktail! We’ve even put in a selection of 9 delicious wines that you could use in your next Kir Royale mix.
In This Article, We Will Cover:
- What Is Kir Royale?
- The Story Behind Kir Royale
- How To Make Kir Royale Cocktail
- Which Is Better: Chambord or Creme de cassis?
- Kir Royale Variations You Could Try
- Best Wines For Kir Royale
Let’s get started.
What Is Kir Royale?
Kir Royale is a French cocktail drink made with Creme de cassis (a berry-flavored liqueur) and Champagne.
However, newer Kir recipes have replaced Creme de cassis with Chambord. While it is a pricier option, Chambord gives the aperitif a more complex flavor.
We’ll look at how you can make your own version of this drink, but let’s first get to know this French drink a bit more.
The Story Behind Kir Royale
Kir was a favorite drink in the French cafes during the 19th century. It was further popularized in Burgundy during World War II by the mayor of Dijon, Canon Felix Kir.
Felix Kir used this cocktail to promote his region’s best products (wine and liqueur), and since then, the word “kir” has been associated with the drink. It has now become so popular that it is listed in Webster’s dictionary in lower case.
Fun Fact: The first Kir created was made with White Burgundy and Lejay Cassis!
Over the years, there have been new variations of this French aperitif. Naturally, these variations have different names to help you know what ingredients are in them:
- Kir: Has no bubbles and uses a white wine
- Kir Imperial: Uses Chambord instead of Creme de cassis. It is also known as French Kir Royale or Chambord Kir Royale.
- Kir Petillant: Uses a bottle of sparkling wine instead of Champagne
- Kir Royale or Kir Royal: The more traditional recipe where Champagne is the main ingredient
- Cider Royale: This cocktail recipe calls for apple cider instead of wine, along with apple brandy instead of Creme de cassis.
Today, this Champagne cocktail is a favorite at casual and glitzy events. But what goes into making this drink?
How To Make Kir Royale Cocktail
This simple four-step classic Kir Royale cocktail recipe is simply delicious and will go down a treat with your guests.
The classic Kir Royale cocktail recipe
Makes four drinks
- 3-4 tablespoons of Creme de Cassis, Chambord, or Crème de Framboise
- 1 bottle (750ml) of sparkling wine or Champagne
- ¼ cup fresh raspberries or lemon twist (garnish - optional)
- Chill the champagne flutes, wine, and Creme de Cassis.
- Pour an ounce of Creme de cassis into each champagne flute. Pour the Champagne slowly (or on the side of the glass) for less foam.
- Top up with Sparkling White Wine or Champagne.
- Decorate and garnish with fresh raspberries or a lemon twist.
- Calories 196
- Carbohydrate 11g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Dietary Fiber 0g
- Protein 0g
- Saturated Fat 0g
- Total Fat 0g
- Total Sugars 7g
Fun Fact: If you use raspberries in your Kir recipe, you’ll benefit from that dose of healthy calcium and potassium as well.
Are you making Kir Royale for a large group?
- Always make sure the Champagne and liqueur are chilled well in advance. This makes sure it doesn’t lose the bubbles too quickly!
- Pour 1 part liqueur to 5 parts of chilled Champagne into carafes or decanters.
- Serve your classic Kir immediately!
And that is all it takes to prepare this delicious drink.
Which Is Better for Kir Royale: Chambord or Creme de cassis?
When you compare drinks, it always comes down to flavor and your personal taste. The same applies when you look at which is better for a Kir Royale.
- Chambord: This French liqueur is a blackberry, black currant, and raspberry blend. It is a sweet liqueur that also incorporates Moroccan citrus peel, cognac, honey, and Madagascar vanilla. It tints the Champagne with a peachy-rose color.
It is more expensive than Creme de cassis, but since you only need an ounce per flute, it will go a long way.
- Creme de cassis: This dark, sweet, and thick liqueur contains blackcurrants and is the more traditional choice for Kir Royale’s recipe. It gives the drink a more intense pink color and sweet taste (think cranberry Cosmopolitan.)
If you prefer a blackcurrant flavor, Creme de cassis is a perfect choice at the end of the day. If you want more berry flavors, then a good bottle of Chambord would be ideal.
Kir Royale Variations You Could Try
There is something about mixed drinks that always inspires creativity around the world. Some people use the wines from their region, while others just pair their favorite drinks.
Here just a few of the variations of Kir Royale that you could try:
- Instead of Creme de cassis, try Calvados, an Apple Brandy.
- If bubbles aren’t your thing, swap the sparkling wine for your favorite white wine.
- If berry liqueur isn’t going to complement your event, use a different flavor like pomegranate or plain raspberry liqueur.
- Remember to choose a liqueur that will complement the wine’s flavors and aromas - not the other way around.
- Want a non-alcoholic version? Use a berry syrup or maraschino cherry juice with a clear soda or club soda.
- If you’re really on experimenting with this recipe, you could blend this classic Champagne cocktail with other well-known cocktails. Some mixologists combine the Kir ingredients with whisky, bitters, and vermouth to create the Manhattan Kir Royale!
Best Wines For Kir Royale
The beauty of a Kir Royale recipe is that you can use any sparkling or dry wine and just pair it with your favorite flavor liqueur. Here are the best wines to try out:
Who doesn’t love a glass of bubbly? The magical bubbles in this drink help “stir and mix” the liqueur in your Kir Royale! Go for any brut Champagne really, but here are two of our favorites.
1. Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne
This Dom Perignon Brut Champagne is the perfect sparkling wine for your Kir recipe with it’s intense notes of black fruit, coriander, silvery minerality, and praline.
Price of Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne: $213
2. Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne
This blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier is a perfect wine for a Kir Royale cocktail. It has fruit notes of white peach, pineapple, lemon, pear, and green banana.
Price of Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne: $75
3. Bollinger La Grande Annee Brut, Champagne
This layered, aromatic wine has subtle details that you cannot miss! It has delicious notes of orange bergamot, ground coffee, honey, dried apricot, and raw almond. It shows focus and power from the beginning and has a long, smoky finish.
Price of Bollinger La Grande Annee Brut, Champagne: $148
B. Dry White Wine
The wonderful thing about using dry white wine is that it will balance the liqueur’s sweetness. If you use a sweet white wine, the sweetness level might spoil your Kir cocktail experience.
4. Rene et Vincent Dauvissat-Camus Vaillons
This pale lemon colored wine has a beautiful bouquet of citrus peel and crushed stone. It has incredible energy to its crystallized lemon peel flavor but not too exotic on the palate.
Price of Rene et Vincent Dauvissat-Camus Vaillons: $111
5. Dolce Late Harvest Semillon - Sauvignon Blanc
This Sauvignon Blanc has terrific young aromas of butterscotch, orange zest, and vanilla bean, with subtle hints of oak-derived spices. On the palate, you will enjoy a mixture of dried apricot, pear, and orange notes.
Price of Dolce Late Harvest Semillon - Sauvignon Blanc: $143
6. William Fevre Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru
Not only will this Chablis do your Kir Royale justice, but it can last a good 10-12 years in a cellar as well! This full-bodied Chablis has a remarkably complex bouquet of spice, fruit, and floral notes.
Price of William Fevre Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru: $115
C. Sparkling Wine
If Champagne doesn't fit your budget, these outstanding Sparkling wines, or Cava, will be perfect for your cocktail recipe. Try looking for a dry sparkling wine or a sparkling wine that isn’t “too sweet” to balance the liqueur’s sweetness.
7. Domaine Carneros by Taittinger Le Reve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Brut
This sparkling wine has expressive, seductive aromas of apricot, lemon pie, and raw vanilla. The bubbles amplify the delicious flavors of dried strawberries, miso paste, and white cherries.
Price of Domaine Carneros by Taittinger Le Reve Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Brut: $103
8. Ultramarine Sparkling Blanc de Blancs
This Sonoma wine is one of the most sought after wines from California. This energetic wine is vinified in the traditional method and has notes of baked apples, brioche, lemon, ginger, and pineapple.
Price of Ultramarine Sparkling Blanc de Blancs: $207
9. Aneri Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG
This medium-bodied sparkling wine has a bouquet of citrus, lemon juice, green apples, tropical fruits, and light spices. This Prosecco is an excellent drink for a day time party. Imagine how the bubbles will enhance the liqueur’s flavor if you use it for a Kir Royale cocktail.
Price of Aneri Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG: $39
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Build Your Wine Collection While Sipping a Kir Royale!
A Kir Royale is a great Champagne cocktail if you’re hosting a lively gala, a casual brunch, a bridal showers, or even a Valentine’s day date. You could also serve it as an alternative to the cheery Mimosa at a casual brunch with friends.
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