Kir Royale Champagne Cocktails are an elegant way to celebrate any occasion. Kirs are a simple aperitif of white wine and crème de cassis, first popular in the Burgundy region of France. Kir Royales are the same, but they're made with champagne or sparkling wine in place of the white wine. It's the single best way I know of to turn mediocre sparkling wine into something truly festive and tasty, and they match with all kinds of salty and savory snacks and canapes.
It may not be traditional, but the reason I post them here and bring your attention to them is that I like to make these festive cocktails with Homemade Cranberry Liqueur, an easy and delicious holiday recipe all on its own. Such cocktails are the belle of the ball around my house during the holiday season.
This recipe is for a single cocktail. It obviously can be scaled up to make as many as you and your guests demand.
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons crème de cassis (currant liqueur) or cranberry liqueur
- 4 to 6 ounces champagne or sparkling wine
For each cocktail, pour the crème de cassis (or other liqueur) into a champagne flute or coupe. I prefer a fairly modest amount of liqueur in my kirs royales, and keep the amount to a scant tablespoon, but those with a sweet tooth can add more to their taste. Pour in the champagne or sparkling wine.
Note that pouring the wine in after the liqueur helps mix the drink naturally—if you pour the liqueur into the wine it will simply sink right to the bottom of the glass, leading to an unmixed drink you now need to stir together; it's a bit counter-intuitive to put the heavier liquid in first, but it works!
Unfortunately, there are no make-ahead tips for these—although I suppose you could pour the liqueur into the glasses ahead of time—but they're so quick to make, there's really no need!
Mix It Up:
Know that any sweet fruit liqueur, such as Chambord (raspberry liqueur), is a lovely substitute for the crème de cassis.
Serve It With:
The sweet note at the heart of these cocktails means they are excellent with salty snacks and canapes; they are also not terribly boozy, so they won't dull the taste buds too much. I find them very flexible in terms of pairing, but find them particularly yummy with:
- Gougères (cheese puffs)
- Blue Cheese-Stuffed Figs
- Fried Mushrooms
- Padron Peppers
- Spicy Peanuts
- Baked Cauliflower Pakora
Make It a Mocktail:
Use pomegranate molasses instead of liqueur and sparkling cider instead of champagne (drop a few pomegranate seeds in the glass, too, if you like!)—it's a sweet concoction, but a tasty one.