History of the Kir Royale Cocktail

Jump to

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!

Pardon the interruption

Did you know that you can become a member for free, taking your cocktail making skills up to level 11. You can save your My Bar ingredients, make tasting notes, have personalised Tried and Want to try lists and more.

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.

More to explore

The Travelling Cocktail Drinker: The Best Bars in Lapland

A week and a half before Christmas and The Travelling Cocktail Drinker could really only visitone de...

The World’s Best Temperance Bars

Alcohol-free bars are popping up all over the world, and some are becoming quite successful!The prem...

Mastering the Art of the Flaming Lamborghini Cocktail

The Flaming Lamborghini is not just a cocktail; it's an experience. Known for its dramatic presentat...

Bartender's top tip

Serving your cocktail in a chilled glass can greatly enhance its enjoyment, keeping it at the optimal temperature for longer. Simply fill the glass with ice and water to chill it while you prepare your drink, and then dump it out just before straining your cocktail into the glass. This is especially important for stirred, spirit-forward drinks like Martinis or Manhattans.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get tips straight into your inbox.

Upgrade your mixology

Become a member for free taking your cocktail making skills up to level 11.

  • Save your bar forever
  • Access to our Cocktail Creator, allowing you to create your own wonderful concoctions.
  • Save cocktails to personalised 'Tried' and 'Want to try' lists
  • Create and record tasting notes on cocktails
  • Create lists of cocktails to share with friends and family
  • A pesonalised MyBar URL, allowing you to share everything you can make with friends
  • And much more ... (what to buy next, measurement choices, search personalisation...)
Register now

Have you tried our Wordpress Plugin?

Download our plugin and embed cocktail recipes directly onto your own site or blog.

Choose from our whole recipe database, or choose a specific cocktail made with a certain ingredient, and let us place a beautiful recipe on your own site.

Find out more