Ingredients for 1 Kir:
- Cassis (1-2 tablespoons or 15-30 ml)
- White wine (about 6 ounces or 150 ml)
- Wine Glass
Preparation Time: 1 Minute
Cooking Time: 0 Minutes
See our complete recipes at French Food & Recipes
If the Cassis is added first, it is evenly mixed with the wine. If the wine is added first, the Cassis is not evenly mixed (due to the smaller volume of Cassis relative to the wine). The former approach gives a more even taste and is preferable from that perspective whereas the latter approach gives a more pleasing appearance with the uneven mixing of the Cassis resulting in a fine pink at the bottom of the glass shading up to a bright red at the top.
The wine should be a dry white and is traditionally a dry white Burgundy. One should use a good wine but not a fine one (as the delicate shadings of a fine wine will be lost in the strong flavour of the Cassis). It should not have a strong taste (one reason for using a typical Burgundy) as one wants the aperitif to reflect the taste of the Cassis.
The ratio of Cassis to wine depends on personal preference. See below for discussion.
One can serve Kir in either a standard wine glass or a flute (champagne glass). In France, a standard wine glass is always used for Kir, with the flute being reserved for Kir Royal.
The official recipe for Kir calls for one-third Cassis and two-thirds wine. However, most people find that this is far too strong in terms of taste, sweetness and alcohol contents. A ration of one part of Cassis to 5 parts of wine is preferred by most people.
Kir and Cassis are both from France (see history below). In France the word "Cassis" means "blackcurrant". The liquor made from the blackcurrant berry is known in France as "crème de cassis". Outside France, "crème de cassis" is normally abbreviated to "cassis". Therefore, beware that if in France you ask for white wine with "cassis" you are likely to get a glass with some berries floating in it (if your bartender has a sense of humour).
For a more elegant and refined drink, see Kir Royal .
Kir is named after Cannon Félix Kir, priest and hero of the French resistance during World War II, and mayor of Dijon from 1945 to 1968. He was very fond of the local white wine mixed with Creme de Cassis (blackcurrant liquor). This fondness has been variously attributed to:
- His desire to promote local products (which he certainly was known for)
- The fact that local wine was often somewhat acidic, so the sweetness of the liquor would pleasantly offset this
- Or perhaps just because he liked to drink
Whatever the reason, it became the official aperitif at town hall receptions and gained increasing fame. Prior to this point the drink was simply known as "vin blanc cassis" (which translates as white wine with creme de cassis). However, during this period, it became widely know as Kir, the term which is now commonly used with France and world-wide.
The drink certainly seemed to agree with Canon Kir, as he was well into his nineties when he died in 1968. One might mention that blackcurrants have approximately seven times as much vitamin C as oranges (for comparable weights), much of which is reputedly preserved within the Creme de Cassis.