Kir and Kir Royale Chambord (Apéritif Recipe)

At your next party, try a Kir Royale Chambord recipe with a mix of Chambord and champagne. Or stick with the classic Kir with crème de cassis and white wine.
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Walk into any restaurant or brasserie in France and you will see it on the menu: Kir. It is usually under apéritifs, and is a recipe mix of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with a white wine from Burgundy, such as Chablis or Aligoté. And there is the luxuriously sounding Kir Royale, with champagne. Yum!

Served chilled, a kir is usually a bit sweet and wonderfully refreshing. In France, where the main meal is usually only accompanied by wine and water, a kir is the quintessential apéritif, meant to be indulged in along with an appetizer or starter. A typical French meal can be quite long so strap on a seatbelt, the kir is just the start.

It originally used to be called blanc-cassis (meaning white-cassis) but it is now named after a man named Félix Kir, who was the mayor of Dijon in Burgundy. The story goes that after WWII and the German Army’s confiscation of all the local red wines, Mr. Kir decided to substitute white wines into another drink to make use of the excessive amounts of white wine available.

The Burgundy region is more famous for its red wines than its whites, so it is also possible that Mr. Kir decided to combine the local white wines with crème de cassis to disguise the harvest inferiority.

Whatever his motivation, kir has now become an apéro mainstay in France, along with the southern inspired Pastis de Marseille.

☞ READ MORE: Easy Guide to the French Wines

Champagne Royale

Now white wine may be for the peasants, and so we have a Kir Royale. With champagne instead of white wine. These days sparkling wine or proscecco are just as likely to be used, as no one wants to open a full bottle of expensive champagne just to make a kir. (In case you were wondering, the bellini combining orange juice and champagne is quite sacrilegious in France.)

Kir Royale Chambord

If you have ever heard of Chambord Royale and wondering what that is, it is a variation of the classic Kir Royale. Instead of crème de cassis and champagne, the Kir Royale Chambord uses Chambord black raspberry Liqueur in place of creme de cassis.

Chambord is a liqueur developed in the Loire Valley during the late 17th century. It is said to have been introduced to the Sun King Louis XIV (of Palais de Versailles fame) during one of his visits to one of his many country houses, the incredible Château de Chambord near Blois in the Loire.  You can read more about French Royalty here.

Because of its royal roots, the Kir Royale Chambord is sometimes called the Kir Impérial and mixed with champagne. The liquor itself is made with a cognac base, raspberries, blackberries, Madagascan vanilla, honey and citrus.

King Louis was, of course, never served a Kir Royale Chambord (as far as I can tell anyway) since that was invented later, but I presume he had some version of a French Martini or Raspberry Diaquiri which also uses Chambord.

These days Kir Royale Chambord is mixed with champagne or a type of crémant sparkling wine from the Loire Valley. You can read more about champagnes and crémants here.

Other Liquor Variations

There are a lot of other variations of kir as well. The most common flavors you will find are:

  • Kir Framboise – made with crème de framboise (raspberries liqueur)
  • Kir Pêche – made with crème de pêches (peach liqueur)
  • Kir Pétillant – made with crémant de Loire sparkling wine

However, there are more “exotic” ones that are not widely available and are usually only served locally such as:

  • Cidre Royal – made with cider instead of wine, with a measure of calvados added
  • Communard (or Cardinal) – made with red wine instead of white wine
  • Hibiscus Royale – made with sparkling wine, peach liqueur, raspberry liqueur, and an edible hibiscus flower
  • Kir Berrichon – Made with red wine and crème de mûres (blackberry liqueur)
  • Kir Bianco – made with sweet white Vermouth instead of wine.
  • Kir Breton – made with Breton (Brittany) cider instead of wine.
  • Kir Normand – made with Normandy cider instead of wine.
  • Kir Pamplemousse – made with red grapefruit liqueur and sparkling white wine
  • Pink Russian – made with milk instead of wine
  • Tarantino – made with lager or light ale. Also sometimes called “kir-beer”.

So for example, if you are Brittany, you may find Kir Breton on the menu. But don’t expect to find it in Provence!

Other kirs like the tarantino will only be found in cocktail bars and other high-end restaurants, rather than your local French brasserie.

Frequently asked questions

How to serve it?

wine bottle in an expensive box illustration

Kirs are always prepared with chilled wine from the fridge. (The crème liquor does not have to be chilled). It is usually prepared and served in a champagne flute glass.
Note: Do not add ice.

What to serve with it?

cutlery

Kirs go well with almost anything. Consider serving it with some socca bread, a savory cake salé or a baked camembert.
You can find more French appetizer ideas here.

kir royale chambord recipe

Kir and Kir Royale Chambord (Recipe)

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A quintessential French cocktail apéritif, you cannot go wrong with a Kir or a Kir Royale Chambord.

Ingredients

Classic Kir

  • 1/4 oz or 7.5ml of Crème de Cassis. (Alternatives: crème de frambroise, crème de pêches)
  • 5 oz of chilled white wine such as Chablis, Aligoté)

Kir Royale

  • 1/4 oz or 7.5ml of Crème de Cassis. (Alternatives: crème de frambroise, crème de pêches)
  • 5 oz of chilled Champagne. (Alternatives: Crémant sparkling wine or Proscecco)

Kir Royale Chambord

  • 1/4 oz or 7.5ml of Chambord 
  • 5 oz of chilled Champagne. (Alternatives: Crémant sparkling wine or Proscecco)

Instructions

  1. Place white wine or champagne in the fridge at least 1/2 a day before.
  2. In a champagne flute, pour in crème de cassis.
  3. Top up with chilled white wine or champagne.
  4. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Notes

If you wish for the drink to be sweeter, adjust the amount of liqueur to match your taste. More liqueur will make a sweeter drink.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 380Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 0g

Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.

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If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French apéritifs that are easy to prepare.

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Kir and Kir Royale Chambord (Apéritif Recipe)

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