History of the Kir Royale Cocktail

If there is a classier, more elegant classic cocktail on offer, then we are yet to discover it. The Kir Royale is the ultimate champagne cocktail – simple, sleek and sophisticated. The best thing about it is that it is incredibly easy to replicate at home or in the bar, making it even more popular amongst contemporary cocktail drinkers. Ideal for those that like the idea of champagne, but find it slightly too dry, the Kir Royale is sweet, fizzy and incredibly moreish. Who knew it had such an amazing history behind it?

Who Created the Kir Royale?

The original cocktail was created by a Catholic priest in Dijon, France. His name was Canon Felix Kir and he actually made two cocktails at the same time. The first was the Kir, a delicious combination of white wine and Lejay Cassis. The more sophisticated followed shortly afterwards, upgraded to include champagne rather than wine.

His cocktail creations were part of his resistance to the Nazi invasion that was happening at the time. Kir was considered to be quite a hero in his country, helping to rescue many prisoners of war from a local concentration camp while other residents fled the town. The Nazi’s confiscated all the red wine in the area, so, in an act of defiance, Kir invented his cocktail using whatever white wine he could get hold of.

Kir was awarded the honour of Mayor of Dijon from 1945 until he died in 1968 and was included in the country’s Legion d’Honneur as recognition of his efforts. He has an important place in both the history of World War Two and the history of cocktail drinking.

So, when you drink a Kir or Kir Royale cocktail, you can sip in the knowledge that you are consuming a drink that tastes great and was made with the intention of sticking two fingers up at the tyrannous Nazi invasion!

Variations of the Cocktail

The finest Kir Royale will still include the traditional Lejay Cassis in many bars. Some places substitute it with another brand of Crème de Cassis, while cheekier establishments will use blackcurrant juice. This is fine for a student wanting a taste of luxury, but not for a cocktail connoisseur looking for an elegant drink.

More adventurous variations include the Cidre Royal, which substitutes cider for the white wine, and the Hibiscus Royal which uses peach and raspberry liqueur instead of blackcurrant. If you are looking for a virgin version, replace the white wine with apple juice.

This post was written by ....

Suzanna H
Hi, I am Suzanna. I would describe myself as a bit of a foodie with a side-interest in fancy cocktails. Anything sweet and alcoholic and I'm in! I am also an avid writer, proofreader and editor and work freelance through the website People per Hour.

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