A little bubbly, a little fruity, and plenty of PARTY. For your next celebration, pour yourself (and your guests) a classic Kir Royale cocktail.
A little piece of my heart will forever be in France.
After studying abroad there in college, and making several trips back since then (and eating too many Strawberry Crepes), it’s a country whose language, history, culture, and, of course, cuisine (a.k.a. pastries) I simply adore.
Among the long list of French things I can’t get enough of is a Kir Royale cocktail.
Now, I know, a Kir Royale is hardly a recipe, but I adore this bubbly beverage too much to not share it and spread the word of its magnificence to the interwebs.
What is a Kir Royale you ask?
A Kir Royale is a refreshing champagne cocktail made with just two ingredients, crème de cassis and sparkling wine.
- Crème de cassis is a black currant liqueur that has a deep, moody berry flavor that reminds me of a blackberry and raspberry combined.
- Sparkling wine. Champagne is most traditional, but you could also pop a bottle of prosecco, cava, or your favorite dry sparkling wine. Anything with bubbles.
Fun fact: Ben and I once visited Burgundy, France where authentic crème de cassis is made (along with the best Beef Bourguignon). I brought back a bottle just so we could make these at home.
Simply spoon a teaspoon of crème de cassis into each glass, top with champagne, and santé.
Kir Royales are light and effervescent.
Serve a Kir Royale as an aperitif (pre-dinner drink), with brunch, or at a bridal or baby shower.
How to Make a Kir Royale Cocktail
Fruity with a bubbly bite, a Kir Royale will be your new favorite way to clink glasses at your next celebration (this Cranberry St. Germain Cocktail is not a bad choice either).
Kir Vs. Kir Royale
A Kir cocktail (vs. Kir Royale) is a similar drink also made with cassis but instead tops it with crisp white wine as opposed to champagne.
- Champagne. For the most authentic drinking experience splurge on a bottle of champagne produced in the Champagne region of France. Make sure it is well-chilled champagne.
- Crème de Cassis. This deep, dark black currant-flavored liqueur has an intense berry flavor. It’s relatively affordable and can be found at most liquor stores. Don’t buy the cheapest bottle, but you don’t need to go all out either.
- Garnish. While a fresh black currant would make the most sense, they’re not the easiest fruit to track down. A simple lemon twist or a few fresh blackberries or raspberries are my favorite ways to finish off a freshly poured Kir Royale.
How to Make a Lemon Twist
Learning to make a lemon twist is a fun way to take your cocktail game to the next level. They’re elegant, fun, and easier than you think.
- Method 1: The easiest way to make a lemon twist is to use a vegetable peeler. Working around the circumference of the lemon in a corkscrew-like direction, cut a long, thin ribbon of lemon peel from a large lemon (larger lemon = longer curls).
- Method 2: Cut a 1/4-inch slice from a large fresh lemon. Next, use a sharp knife to cut through one side of the lemon slice and then begin to work around the peel to cut away and remove as much of the flesh and bitter rind as possible. Wrap the remaining ribbon of lemon peel around your finger (or use a chopstick) to create a twisted curl and voilà perfect lemon curl.
As with any classic cocktail (ahem, Apple Cider Mimosa), there are countless ways you can adapt and experiment with this drink recipe to suit your tastes using any kind of berry liqueurs. Here are some of my favorite non-traditional twists on the classic Kir Royale cocktail.
- Black Raspberry Kir Royale. If you don’t enjoy the flavor of black currant, try making a Kir Royale with Chambord (a raspberry liqueur) instead.
- Kir Royale with St. Germain. If you love a St. Germain Cocktail as much as I do, you’ll also enjoy a Kir Royal made with this elderflower-flavored liqueur
- Pomegranate Kir Royale. Another fun fruity twist on the traditional recipe is to swap the cassis for your favorite pomegranate liqueur.
- Add a teaspoon of crème de cassis to each champagne flute.
- Pop open a bottle of champagne or other dry sparkling wine and top off each glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or fresh berries. ENJOY!
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Champagne Flutes. If you haven’t bought yourself a pair of fun champagne flutes, a Kir Royale is an excellent excuse to do so.
- Sharp Knife. If you’d like to attempt to make some pretty lemon twists for garnish.
- Champagne Opener. If you don’t trust yourself to pop the cork without shooting it towards your Mother-in-Law’s expensive antique chandelier.
Cheers to each of you, and to the Kir Royale: an easy, elegant cocktail that’s fit for a casual brunch, fancy bridal shower, or Parisian café. Let’s party!
Frequently Asked Questions
I wish I could say yes. Unfortunately, this is one cocktail I don’t think can be made sans alcohol easily since the cassis and bubbly are both pretty critical to the drink. For a low alcohol version, top the creme de cassis with a non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
Yes! If you’re looking for a fun bubbly cocktail to serve at your next gathering that can be enjoyed by those sensitive to gluten, a Kir Royale is an excellent gluten free option.
According to legend, the first Kir Royale (pronounced kur-roy-AL) was made during World War II after the Nazis invaded Burgundy, France, and, subsequently, stole all of their renowned red wine as they moved through the region. Canon Félix Kir, a Catholic priest member of the French resistance is credited for not only helping prisoners escape Nazi camps but help keep their spirits up by adding creme de cassis to the only remaining local white wine he could find—turning it red—to give the townspeople of this war-torn region a substitute for their belove Burgundy red wine.
- Crème de cassis liqueur (see notes for recipe variations)
- 1 bottle of champagne (750 mL)
- lemon twists or blackberries, raspberries, lemon twists, or currants (for garnish)
- Pour 1 teaspoon of crème de cassis in each glass.
- Top with champagne and serve!
- RECIPE VARIATIONS: While a Kir Royale is traditionally made with creme de cassis, you can also make a black raspberry Kir Royal by swapping for an equal amount of Chambord. Pomegranate liqueur is another fun twist on the classic recipe too.
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