Which white wine for kir?

The kir, history and meaning

Blanc-Cassis or Blanc-Cass, commonly known as Kir, is a cocktail originating from Burgundy whose invention is attributed to Felix Kir, a former mayor of Dijon. For the record, it all started in Dijon in 1841 with the café owner Auguste-Denis Lagouste who created blackcurrant liqueur. Then, during the term of mayor Henri Barabant (1904-1908), he would have been the first to drink the White-Cassis aperitif wine known today as “kir”. Finally, it is precisely to Canon Félix Kir, mayor of Dijon (1945-1968), to whom we owe the fame of the cocktail that bears his name.

If it is true that he used to receive his fellow citizens at the town hall with a Blanc-Cassis, 3 dates are decisive in the current influence of the Kir.

  • On November 20, 1951, Mayor Kir authorized the Lejay-Lagoute company, a Dijon-based crème de cassis manufacturer to use his name to promote blanc cassis.
  • In 1952 the term “kir” was registered with the National Institute of International Property.
  • In 1955, Canon Kir wrote this time to the company L'Héritier Guyot to indicate that the authorization to use his surname in no way constituted a monopoly and extended this right to other local manufacturers.

The kir is therefore a traditional cocktail from the Burgundy region which, since its origins, has consisted of a mixture of aligoté wine from Burgundy with crème de cassis at 20°.

Even if the term is protected, it has spread around the world in many variations while keeping the word "kir".

Details and characteristics of Kir ingredients

Burgundy Aligoté wine

The Aligoté white wine from Burgundy is a liqueur that stands out for its pale gold color and its floral or fruity bouquet. It is obtained from the grape variety of the terroirs of Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d'Or and Yonne. In the past, Blanc Aligoté was a wine consumed daily in the region and it is naturally that it will impose itself as the ideal wine in the Blanc-Cassis recipe. The reason for this is that they are two products from Burgundy, which makes Blanc-Cass an economical and very good cocktail. Mayor Kir liked to make this cocktail by diluting the dose of acidity of Burgundy Aligoté with the sugar of the crème de cassis.

Blackcurrant cream

Blackcurrant liqueur is a very old Dijon syrup obtained from blackcurrant fruit. It can be enjoyed as it pleases either as an aperitif or as a digestive before and after meals. These small fruits are the source of the charm of Blanc-Cassis, better known as Kir.

The stages of the preparation of the kir

When starting to prepare kir, it is necessary to first pour the cream into the glass and then pour over the wine. This process avoids the use of the spoon to obtain a more fluid mixture.

How to prepare a kir?

Over time, the preparation of kir has undergone many mutations due either to the variation of the proportions to be used in the traditional recipe or to the replacement of one or other of the original ingredients.

The preparation of the traditional kir

The traditional kir is made by mixing 1/3 Dijon crème de cassis at 20° with 2/3 Aligoté white Burgundy wine . The objective here is to soften the acid taste of burgundy with the sweetness and sugar of crème de cassis.

Kir revisited

Today and everyone at their convenience, the traditional kir knows slight modifications on the dosages. Thus, you can also make the kir with the proportions 1/4 of crème de cassis and 3/4 of wine or with 1/5 of cream and 4/5 of wine. It should be noted that a high quantity of blackcurrant in the cocktail increases its alcohol content with regard to the effect of sugar.

Variants of Kir

It is necessary to distinguish the variants of the kir according to whether one replaces the white wine aligoté of Burgundy by another wine or the crème de cassis by another syrup. However, liquorists recommend replacing Burgundy with a dry white wine or any other quality acid wine. The notoriety and flexibility of kir today inspire many cocktails based on other white, red and rosé wines.

The wines and creams used in the variants of Kir

Kir with crème de cassis base

Kir with white wine

  • In the absence of Bourgogne Aligoté, another acidic wine can do the trick in the mixture with the crème de cassis. If Muscadet is recommended, fruity and aromatic wines such as Sauvignon are strongly discouraged.
  • Savoyard kir results from the mixture of a white wine from Savoy (apremont or roussette de Savoie) with crème de cassis.
  • Kir montassier or kir valletais is made with muscadet wine and blackcurrant cream.
  • Kir with red wine
  • Communard is a recipe from the Dijon countryside prepared with Burgundy red wine and crème de cassis.
  • The cardinal is an aperitif made from full-bodied red wine and crème de cassis. The acidic red wines from the Côtes du Rhône AOC contained in the Oé collection are highly recommended.

Kir with rosé wine

  • Kir Médoc, for its part, requires a rosé wine instead of white wine.

Kir with champagne or crémant

  • The kir royal called “Téméraire” in Burgundy and “kir Grand-Ducal” in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is obtained by replacing the Burgundy Aligoté with the Crémant de Bourgogne.
  • The wild boar is made from Burgundy marc and crème de cassis.
  • Breton Kir is made with crème de cassis and cider.
  • The mingled-broken is made with crème de cassis from Marc de Bourgogne wine.

Kir with vodka

  • The Double K obtained from crème de cassis and vodka created in anticipation of the meeting (not held) of Canon Kir and Kroutchev.
  • The Gargarine Cocktail is a mixture of crème cassis, champagne, vodka, cherry brandy and lemon juice.

Kir with other crèmes de cassis at the base

  • Kir provençal or kir soleil is made from rosé wine and grapefruit syrup. The resulting cocktail is exquisite.
  • Kir imperial, known for its flavor, is obtained from blackberry or raspberry cream and champagne.
  • The blackberry kir appreciated for its voluptuousness is made with wild blackberry cream.
  • The peach kir made with peach cream or vine peach is a real delight.
  • Ardèche kir made from chestnut cream is prized for its sensuality.
  • The Celtic kir made from chouchen and muscadet is savored for the well-being it provides.
  • The Lorraine made from mirabelle plum liqueur is a real pleasure.
  • Norman kir made from calvados and cider provides much appreciated happiness.

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