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Kir
L’aperitif de choix these days often seems to be a kir…or better yet a kir royale, mixed with champagne instead of white wine to bring the level of elegance (and the price) up a few notches. We thought we would try to set some things straight on this concoction. First, kir isn’t a place, a fruit, a wine, it’s the name of a drink mixture…it is not a product.
     Second, a traditional Burgundian kir is made with white wine, preferably an aligoté, and crème de cassis (currant liqueur). Over the years, regions and restaurants have developed their own specialty kirs. For example in our region of Uzès, a kir is often served with a blackberry liqueur, mûre. L’Olivier restaurant in Serviers, just up the road, has a delicious house kir royale made with an almond liqueur. The Table de l’Horloge in Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, the only Michelin starred restaurant in our area, serves a peach/apricot based kir royale as its house aperitif.
     Third, kir isn’t a centuries-old cocktail…it was invented in the 1940s by the mayor of Dijon (whose name was M. Kir) in an attempt to remedy flagging cassis sales. The original Kir was a mixture of high quality crème de cassis and Burgundian aligoté, a particular white wine of that region.
     It’s not necessary to know all this, but next time you’re in a bar in the States and you ask for a kir royale, they might serve it to you with chambord, a raspberry liqueur. Seems some bartenders schools are teaching their students that way. That’s fine if you like it, but ask for crème de cassis with your champagne and you’ll be having a true and  traditional kir royale.

 

Kir:
crème de cassis and white wine

Kir  royale:
crème de cassis and champagne

 

 

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