The Kir is an old French cocktail that dates back to the mid nineteenth century. Originally called a cassis-blanc, reflecting its ingredients, it earned its new name in the aftermath of World War Two.
This cocktail is supposed to be made with a mild Burgundy-region white (a Chablis is called for in many recipes), and the proportions have varied widely through time. The official recipe calls for one part liqueur to nine parts wine, although some old-style recipes call for one part liqueur and three parts wine, yielding a drink that is apparently excessively sweet. These proportions seemed about right to us:
Pour the crème de cassis into a wine glass; top with white wine. Do not stir. (Although the proportions suggest you could make this cocktail in a pitcher, purists advise against doing so.)
The verdict: This is a sweet cocktail — possibly too sweet for some, although most of us liked it. We used a Sémillon, which is a sweet grape; a drier white would obviously stand up to the liqueur differently. The aroma was elegant, almost dreamy, however, and as the cocktail warmed up it revealed greater depth.
As this is a cocktail with numerous variations, we will plan to try the Kir Royale, made with Champagne, this summer. There’s also a Kir Impérial, made with Champagne and Chambord, that I’m eager to try. Something to look forward to as the days get longer and warmer… Cheers!