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Kir Royale

With just three ingredients, the Kir Royale is proof that less can be more. An elegant drink that’s super easy to craft at home, this Champagne cocktail is appropriately festive for any holiday or special occasion.

Bubbling Kir Royale Cocktail
Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Kir Royale isn’t your typical cocktail.

With firm roots in France, it’s a cocktail that’s as easy to craft as it is elegant to serve. This is a drink that makes a statement thanks to it’s two main ingredients – bubbly Champagne and sweet Créme de Cassis.

The magic (And who doesn’t like magic?) happens when Champagne and Crème combine in a glass.

What Is A Kir Royale?

Kir Royale with Dropped Raspberry Splash
It was time to get the party started once we dropped a raspberry into this Kir Royale. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Kir Royale is a popular pre-dinner apértif in France where both Champagne and Crème de Cassis are readily available. The classy cocktail achieved global fame over the years and now appears on cocktail bar menus around the world.

Served in a flute, the sparkling red-colored drink is swanky enough to serve at a wedding. However, the Kir Royale’s recipe is so simple that it’s tempting to craft a couple at home and enjoy them with a cheese plate and nibbles.

History Of The Kir Royale

Kir Royale with Raspberry from Above
The best way to start your Kir Royale research is to sip the sweet bubbly cocktail. We sipped this one after crafting it at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The Kir Royale’s history is filled with intrigue.

It involves a Catholic priest who saved numerous lives as a resistance fighter during World War Two. While Canon Felix Kir gets credit for both the Kir and Kir Royale cocktails, he wasn’t the first to combine Champagne and Crème de Cassis. But his version is the one that’s withstood the test of time.

Kir (the man) combined Lejay Cassis produced in Dijon and local Burgundian wine to craft his original Kir (the cocktail). However, it wasn’t much of a stretch for the Dijon priest to replace that white wine with Champagne to create the sparkling ‘royal’ version.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Ingredients

Kir Royale Ingredients and Tools
The Kir Royale’s ingredient list includes Champagne, Crème de Cassis and raspberries. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you count the Kir Royale’s ingredients on one hand, you’ll have two fingers left over. These are the sparkling cocktail’s only ingredients:

  • Champagne
  • Crème de Cassis
  • Raspberry (garnish)
Kir Royale Liquors
Champagne and Crème de Cassis are the Kir Royale’s two liquors. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Technically, you only need Champagne and Crème de Cassis to craft a Kir Royale. Accordingly, you don’t want to use lesser substitutes. As the saying goes: What you put in is what you get out.

Champagne

Taittinger Champagne Bottle
We used this half-bottle of Taittinger Champagne to craft two Kir Royale cocktails at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While you could use any sparkling wine to craft a Kir Royale, Champagne is the sparkler you want to use. Not only is Champagne specific to the Champagne region of France, but it’s also sparkling wine royalty.

Champagne producers must follow strict rules when they produce the bubbly elixir with chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir grapes. Their production process involves two fermentations, one in a tank and one in the bottle, before the Champagne is aged, riddled and disgorged.

Discover our favorite sparkling wine cocktails.

Open Bottle of Taittinger Champagne
We were careful not to lose too many bubbles after we opened this demi bottle of Taittinger Champagne. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Make no mistake. Champagne is a luxury product. However, savvy shoppers can purchase half-bottles for this recipe which is what we did when we bought a half-bottle of Taittinger. It’s best to look for the AOC label since there are a number of great bubblies from the Champagne region.

Pro Tip
Craft your Kir Royale with a Cremant from Burgundy if you want to drink something even more area specific than just France.

Crème De Cassis

Creme de Cassis Bottle
Now that we’ve bought this bottle of Leon Gonay Crème de Cassis, we anticipate crafting many Kir Royale cocktails at home. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

While the French have been producing and drinking Crème de Cassis for centuries, our history with the blackcurrant liqueur dates back a decade.

We started buying the fruity liqueur in Philadelphia after friends gave us a a taste from their precious bottle. Our infatuation manifested and eventually took us to the Cassissium, an immersive Cassis museum in Nuits-Saint-Georges.

More recently, we bought a bottle of Leon Gonay’s Crème de Cassis for this and other recipes. Not only was it produced in Dijon in Burgundy, but the bottle was also available at our local market.

Discover more of our favorite French cocktails.

How To Craft A Kir Royale Cocktail At Home

Kir Royale Prep Station
Crafting Kir Royale cocktails is super easy since the recipe involves neither shaking nor stirring. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Crafting a Kir Royale (or two) is as simple as measuring and pouring.

The first step in this recipe is to measure the Crème de Cassis. While no special tools are required, we like to use a Japanese jigger to ensure accurate measurements and clean pours.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Measuring Cassis for Kir Royale Recipe
Our excitement built once we measured the Crème de Cassis. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pour the measured Crème de Cassis directly into a Champagne flute.

Pouring Creme de Cassis for Kir Royale Recipe
We quickly poured the Crème de Cassis into each glass after we measured the sweet liqueur with a jigger. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pro Tip
Open the Champagne bottle carefully. Be sure to direct the bottle away from your eyes and any lighting fixture before you pop the cork!

Creme de Cassis in Glasses for Kir Royale Recipe
We briefly paused to admire the Crème de Cassis’ rich mulberry color and syrupy consistency. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

But, seriously, it’s best to use both hands to open the bottle, twisting the cork while gently liberating it from the top.

Opening Champagne for Kir Royale
Daryl made himself useful by opening the Champagne. He’s a keeper! | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pour the Champagne into the flute glasses.

Pouring Champagne for Kir Royale Recipe
The magic happened when the champagne hits the Crème de Cassis. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pro Tip
Be careful as you pour the Champagne. We recommend filling the glass half way to the top and then topping it off once the initial bubbles settle.

Kir Royale with Bubbles
We’re obsessed with the Kir Royale’s vibrant magenta hue. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Drop a raspberry into the glass and drink immediately.

Dropping Raspberry into Kir Royale
Don’t forget to drop in a raspberry. Not only does it look pretty, but it becomes a tasty morsel after soaking in the Kir Roayle. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Alternatives

Taittinger Champagne and White Napkin
Drinking Champagne is one of life’s pleasures. The same goes for drinking Kir Royale cocktails. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Crafting a Kir Royal is incredibly easy with no shaking or stirring required. However, it might not be the drink for you if you’re not a Crème de Cassis fan

One option is to replace the Crème de Cassis with either Crème de Framboise or Chambord. Another option is to craft one of the following sparkling cocktails:

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Kir Royale?

The Kir Royale is a sparkling pre-dinner apértif crafted with Champagne and Créme de Cassis.

Why is it called a Kir Royale?

The Kir Royale is named after Félix Kir, the cocktail’s inventor who was also a war hero and the mayor of Dijon.

What’s the difference between a Kir and a Kir Royale?

A Kir is crafted with white wine and a Kir Royale is crafted with Champagne.

Where was the Kir Royale invented?

The Kir Royale was invented in France.

What are the ingredients in a Kir Royale?

Champagne, Crème de Cassis and Raspberry (garnish)

Is the Kir Royale shaken or stirred?

The Kir Royale is neither shaken nor stirred.

What type of glass is best for the Kir Royale?

We like to serve this cocktail in a flute and you should do the same.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Kir Royale with Raspberry from Above
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5 from 2 votes

Kir Royale Recipe

The Kir Royale is an elegant cocktail that's appropriately festive for any holiday or special occasion. Learn how to craft the sparkling French cocktail at home in just two minutes.
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 79kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ ounce Crème de Cassis
  • 3 ounces Champagne (chilled)
  • 1 raspberry

Equipment

Instructions

  • Pour Crème de Cassis into a flute.
  • Top glass with chilled Champagne.
  • Drop in a raspberry.
  • Drink immediately.

Pro Tips

  1. You can use another sparkling wine like Cava or Prosecco instead of Champagne
  2. You can replace the raspberry with a blackberry.
  3. Drink the Kir Royale immediately before the bubbles dissipate.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Funding
We purchased all ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: December 29, 2021

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