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Try the Kir drink: a classic French two-ingredient cocktail! This sophisticated aperitif mixes crème de cassis and white wine.

Kir Cocktail

Before there was the Kir Royale, there was an even simpler drink: the Kir! This classic French cocktail mixes two ingredients for a sophisticated aperitif. Mix crème de cassis, the fruity black currant liqueur, with a chilled dry white wine. It takes just a minute to pour together and the flavor is subtle and nuanced: it almost tastes like a dry red wine but with stronger berry notes. Want the more popular version of this drink? Go to Kir Royale.

What is a Kir drink?

The Kir cocktail is a French aperitif made with crème de cassis and dry white wine. It’s been eclipsed by its popular variation, the Kir Royale, which swaps in bubbly champagne for the wine. The drink was originally called blanc-cassis, but was later renamed after priest Félix Kir, a hero of the French resistance during World War II and the mayor of the French town Dijon from 1945 to 1968. Some stories claim that Kir invented the cocktail after the Nazis confiscated all the Burgundy region wines (hence why the drink tastes a like red wine!).

The Kir cocktail was originally made with French Aligoté wine, but today it’s made with various varietals. You can use any dry white wine you choose. Here’s what you’ll need for a Kir cocktail:

  • Crème de cassis
  • Dry white wine
Kir Cocktail

The ideal ratio for the Kir cocktail

There’s some contention about the best creme de cassis to wine ratio for a Kir cocktail. The International Bartender’s Association defines it as 1:9 (one part cassis to 9 parts white wine), but to our tastes the cassis is too weak. Other sources state the French like it with a much stronger cassis ratio, as much as 1:3. This is a bit too strong, so here’s the ratio we recommend:

  • 1 ounce crème de cassis
  • 4 ounces dry white wine

Variation: serve it on the rocks

A traditional Kir cocktail is served straight up in a small wine glass (and the Kir Royale is served in a champagne flute). Want an alternative idea? A modern way to serve the Kir is on the rocks, with a big clear ice cube in a lowball glass. We tried this variation and enjoyed the feel: the clear ice keeps it extra ice cold. And there’s just something laid back about sipping from a lowball glass (sometimes stemmed glasses feel more…prim and uptight?).

Creme de cassis

About crème de cassis

Is it worth grabbing a bottle of crème de cassis for this drink? Absolutely. It’s also a fun way to repurpose the stuff if you bought it for a Kir Royle. Here’s what to know:

  • Crème de cassis is a dark, sweet liqueur made black currants. It’s made in Burgundy, France and first became available in 1841.
  • How much does crème de cassis cost? It’s an inexpensive: you can find a 750 ml bottle for $10 to 15. We like the brand Drillaud.
  • More creme de cassis cocktails? Outside of the Royale, try it in the El Diablo, a Cassis Spritz (substitute it for Aperol in an Aperol Spritz), add it to a Royal Flush, or substitute it for Chambord in a French Martini.
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Kir Cocktail

Kir Cocktail


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x

Description

Try the Kir drink: a classic French two-ingredient cocktail! This sophisticated aperitif mixes crème de cassis and white wine.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ounce* crème de cassis, chilled
  • 4 ounces chilled dry white wine, chilled

Instructions

  1. Combine the crème de cassis and white wine in a stemmed cocktail glass. Or, serve it over a large clear ice cube in a low ball glass. 

Notes

*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktail
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Kir drink, Kir cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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