The Kir Royale cocktail is a classic French aperitif (a cocktail served before dinner) made with champagne and creme de cassis. It is also frequently served as an elegant starter to afternoon tea. Its beautiful, pale pink color makes it delightful at a bridal or baby shower.
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What Does a Kir Royale Taste Like?
A Kir Royale cocktail is made with champagne and creme de cassis. Creme de cassis is a sweet French liqueur made from blackcurrants.
This cocktail is the perfect combination of champagne and sweet, tart berry flavor. It’s the upscale and sparkly version of a kir, which is made with white wine and creme de cassis.
I had my first kir in Paris just after college. It felt so very French! It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I discovered kir’s grown up and much fancier sister!
The kir royale cocktail is a great way to elevate budget champagne or sparkling wine. Just a tablespoon of the bright red cassis liqueur turns wine or champagne into an elegant, pale pink drink with a touch of sweetness.
Is creme de cassis the same as Chambord? Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur that is a bit sweeter than creme de cassis. While creme de cassis is the traditional liqueur used in the kir royale recipe, you can substitute Chambord if you need to.
Why is it called a Kir Royale? This champagne cassis cocktail was created in France by Canon Felix Kir, who was also the mayor of Dijon (yep, same region as the mustard!). He first invented the Kir, made with white wine, followed by the Kir Royal, made with champagne. You can read all about the history of the Kir Royale here.
How Do You Make a Kir Royale?
You don’t need to use the best champagne for this creme de cassis champagne drink. In fact you shouldn’t use the best champagne – save that for a special occasion!
The kir royale is a way to dress up a medium quality or cheaper champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine.
To make the cocktail, pour about one tablespoon of creme de cassis into each champagne glass. You can add more cassis for a darker pink color.
Then top off each glass with champagne. I start by filling each glass about 1/2 way so it doesn’t overflow, then repeat. One bottle of champagne will make 4 generous servings depending on how large your champagne glasses are.
To garnish this fancy drink, top with a single raspberry and an orange twist. Have those ready before you pop the champagne cork.
To make the orange twists, I like to use a channel knife, which makes a long ribbon. Twist the ribbon around a chopstick or skewer, then cut the twists into desired lengths.
What Can You Serve With a Kir Royale?
This pale pink drink is a lovely and festive addition to any cocktail party. It’s also commonly served at a Royal Tea. If you’d like to serve it as part of an afternoon tea, you’ll find lots of ideas for Tea Sandwiches here.
This Smoked Salmon Cheesecake is a delicious appetizer perfect for cocktail parties or holiday gatherings.
If serving the Kir Royale as part of a dessert party, it would be lovely with Meringue Hearts or this Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake. If serving for a larger group, you can prepare each glass with the cassis ahead of time, then add the champagne and garnish just before serving.
This post was originally published on April 22, 2015.
- 4 Tablespoons Creme de Cassis.
- 1 bottle Medium quality champagne or sparkling wine
- 4 Fresh raspberries
- 4 orange twist for garnish
- Into each champagne glass pour approximately 1 Tablespoon Creme de Cassis
- Top with champagne.
- Garnish with fresh raspberry and an orange twist.
Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine says
What a treat! It looks like such a lovely place and what lovely company you had!
It was such a fun afternoon — when’s our next tea date?
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass says
Good for you “Afternoon Tea Gals”, what a great spot to enjoy a spot of tea! Gorgeous pictures, treats, surroundings. Glad to have the recipe for Kir Royale, thank you. Looking forward to more of your tea adventures…
I had such a lovely time with you ladies and the Kir Royale really hit the spot! I love that you added the recipe, Cynthia!
We really are fortunate to have a treasure such as the Langham Huntington, Pasadena in our own backyards! I think we should take advantage of that fact, more often! 🙂
Joan M. says
Thanks for sharing this simple recipe for Kir Royale, I’d never made one before and didn’t realize they’re so lovely and easy to make!
Thanks! So easy and so festive for a party or shower.
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Chef Mimi says
I used to serve these back when I had dinner parties! So pretty, festive, and delicious! Happy New Year!
David Butler says
Such a great post it was. Thanks a lot for sharing it!
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I am first reading about this Kir, which is the recipe’s name. Such food I have never eaten before, but now I wish to learn about its preparation at my home to make tasty food for my children and me.
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