Kir Royale French champagne cocktail is a classy drink made with creme de cassis, a black currant liqueur. This classic French cocktail is a perfect drink to serve on special occasions like Valentine's day, Mother's day, a baby shower, New Year's eve, or Easter!
This recipe was inspired by my summer of living in Europe in 2021. We flew in and out of Paris and spent some time there. I saw the red drink a few times and never knew what it was until I recently started reading up on cocktails.
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Why this recipe works
- It's super easy, using only two ingredients. French blackcurrant liqueur and champagne!
- It's light and sweet with a bubbly bite. Perfect for a festive occasion, impress your guests with a fun and fancy cocktail.
- It's easily adaptable. Adjust the liqueur and champagne as needed for your taste.
- Make multiple drinks with creme de cassis by pairing it with champagne, wine, or cider.
- It's an easy cocktail to make for a big crowd! You only need two main ingredients, creme de cassis liqueur and a nice champagne bottle, and your cocktail is taken care of!
What is Kir Royale?
The Kir Royale is a classy French cocktail made with black currant liqueur and topped with champagne. It's a sweet, fruity bubbly cocktail that tastes like a light berry-flavored wine cooler. But more fancy and tasty!
Kir Royale is a slight variation of another French drink, the Kir, a blackcurrant drink mixed with white wine.
Cassis "Ka-Sees" in French means blackcurrant, referring to the sweet blackcurrant berries used as the main ingredient in the French liqueur.
Champagne vs. sparkling wine
Did you know that champagne and sparkling wine are the same things? The only difference is tied up in the legality of the location where the alcohol was produced. According to EU law, only champagne produced within 100 miles radius of Champagne, France, a city in the Burgundy region of France, can be legally called Champagne. By law, champagne made outside of that parameters must be called Sparkling wine. Interesting.
- Crème de cassis. A French black currant liqueur. A little bit goes a long way. Adjust as needed for your taste bud. I found my Creme de cassis (Mont Biseu brand) at Total Wine.
- Champagne. This is the recipe that you'll want to break out your favorite fancy bottle of champagne for! Chill your champagne bottle before use for the most refreshing bubbly drink.
- Garnish options. Fresh currants, black, red, blueberries, or a slice of orange twist.
How to make Kir Royale recipe
Step 1. Pour creme de cassis over champagne glasses. This recipe uses ½ oz creme de cassis and 3-4 oz of champagne. Use more for a stronger flavor!
Step 2. Add champagne to the glass, garnish with your favorite fresh berries, and serve. That's it! So easy, right?
Recipe notes for making the perfect Kir Royale
- Creme de cassis is a thick syrupy liqueur with a sweet, currant flavor. Use a drier champagne or sparkling wine to offset the sweetness.
- For making sweeter drinks, add more cassis liqueur. Less liqueur and more champagne mean a softer red color cocktail.
- Use bubbly water as a substitute if you don't like champagne.
- Add your favorite bitters to enhance and gives depth to your Kir Royale. Try blood orange bitters or get a small sample set for testing different flavors like these and mix and match with the flavors until content!
Tools for this recipe
- A fancy champagne flute works well for this classic cocktail.
- I used this stemless champagne flute.
- A 2 oz shooter shot glass.
The creme de cassis is a French liqueur made from blackcurrants. It is the main alcohol used in Kir and Kir Royale and a few other popular French cocktails.
The traditional liqueur for Kir Royale uses the creme de cassis, but the following substitutes will work. Chambord or Crème de mure and Crème de framboise, these are blackberry liqueur.
Kir Royal tastes like a fruity wine cooler with a rich berry flavor from the thick currant berry liqueur. Kir Royale is typically mixed with chilled champagne, making it a fun, bubbly drink that is festive and fun to sip on.
This classic French cocktail is named after a World War II french catholic priest, Félix Kir, a war resistance hero who became a Mayor of the Burgundian town Dijon in France.
He made two drinks, one using blanc cassis liqueur with white burgundy wine, while the other used champagne. Thus the Kir (with wine) and Kir Royale (with champagne).
The classic Kir is a simple yet elegant French cocktail with creme de cassis mixed with white wine.
Yes. Though traditionally, the creme de cassis is mixed with champagne or white wine, you certainly can drink it on its own, much like the Italian Aperol spritz. Drink it as an aperitif, pre-dinner to stimulate an appetite, or as a digestif after-dinner drink. The liqueur is a fruity and sweet liqueur that goes down smooth with a rich aftertaste of the currant berry flavor.
No. Creme de cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur, while Chambord, a French liqueur, is made with black raspberries. Both have a rich sweet flavor. But currants have slightly more tartness than raspberries, making creme de cassis a stronger taste.
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