Is it too soon for a cocktail? Nah, I don’t think so. We’ve been celebrating with Kir Royale cocktails this summer, and I wanted to introduce you to this delightfully fizzy, lightly pink drink.
The Kir Royale is a Champagne cocktail made with a splash of French berry liqueur. Cocktails truly don’t get any easier.
Kir Royales are a blushing alternative to sparkling rosé or straight Champagne. The simple act of swirling two ingredients together makes Kir Royales seem more celebratory, if you will.
You could serve Kir Royales at birthday parties, showers, brunch, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, or any happy occasion. They’re so simple to make and yet still feel a little fancy. Ready?
Kir Royale Ingredients
Kir Royales are so simple to make that you hardly need a recipe. You’ll need two ingredients:
- Chilled Champagne: Champagne is traditional and tastes wonderful. Similar sparkling wines, like Prosecco and Cava, will also work. Whichever you choose, buy a brut (dry) variety so your drinks aren’t too sweet.
- Chambord or crème de cassis: Both are berry liqueurs that will turn your cocktail slightly pink and lightly sweet. Both are around 15 to 16 percent alcohol by volume, so they will make your drinks just a touch more boozy.
Add fresh raspberries to your list if you want a cute garnish. For the record, though, my Kir Royales rarely arrive garnished when I order them at a restaurant or bar.
Chambord vs. Crème de Cassis
Chambord is a branded French liqueur made with raspberries, blackberries and blackcurrants. It’s sweet but complex, incorporating flavors of Madagascar vanilla, Moroccan citrus peel, honey and cognac. Chambord will tint your Champagne a sophisticated peachy-rose color.
Chambord is more expensive, but a small bottle will make many cocktails. I think it’s worth it. If you appreciate St. Germain, you’ll also enjoy Chambord.
Crème de cassis is made with blackcurrants. It’s dark, thick, syrupy and sweet. It will make your Kir Royales more intensely pink and sweet (similar to a Cosmopolitan on both accounts).
While it may be the traditional liqueur used to make Kir Royales in France, I haven’t been able to find good crème de cassis in the United States.
In short, Chambord is my favorite. It elevates the flavor of Champagne rather than overwhelming it, which is the hallmark of a good Champagne cocktail. If you try them side-by-side like I did, I think you’ll agree!
Looking for more simple sparkling cocktails? Here are a few more classics:
Please let me know how you like Kir Royales in the comments. I love hearing from you.
Kir Royale Cocktail
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: Poured by hand
- Cuisine: French
Learn how to make a classic Kir Royale with this simple recipe! You’ll only need two ingredients—Champagne and Chambord (or crème de cassis). Feel free to use a little more or less liqueur to suit your taste buds. Recipe as written yields 1 drink.*
- ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Chambord or crème de cassis
- 5 ounces chilled brut (dry) Champagne
- Optional garnish: 1 fresh raspberry
- Pour the Chambord into a Champagne flute. While holding the glass at a 45-degree angle (this helps preserve the bubbles), gently pour in the Champagne.
- Garnish with a raspberry, if you’d like. Serve immediately.
*How to scale this recipe: One bottle of Champage will yield about 5 drinks. One small (375 mL) bottle of Chambord is enough for 25 drinks. So, you’ll need five times as much Champagne as Chambord.
Kir Royales are my ALL TIME FAVORITE drink! It is so hard to find places that make these. I am so happy that you posted how to make them! Thank you!!
You’re very welcome!!
Best drink ever! Chambord is my preferences!
You’re welcome, Marybeth!
I’ve never tried Chambord in a Kir Royale (intriguing!), but I totally agree that they need a good crème de cassis. We’re lucky in New Zealand to have a local distiller that makes a superb crème de cassis that’s like a pure essence of blackcurrant. Clearly they should be exporting:).
Can’t wait to serve these next time I host book club. And can you talk to me about your glassware?
Hi Sarah! I got these at Crate & Barrel. I love them!
When I visited France many years ago, I drank a Kir. They were made with Chablis and crème de cassis. I always thought that if you made a drink with champagne and chambord that was a Kir Royale. The chambord was poured into the flute slowly to make a ring which signifies a “crown”. Hence, the Royale designation.
Thanks for sharing, Jill!
Kir Royale is fantastic! I love the different variations you’ve listed here. Exquisite!
Thank you, Anthony!
Funny, I’ve been drinking Kirs and Kir Royales for decades and never searched for a recipe until today. Better late than never I guess. I am curious about the comment regarding your inability to find good Creme de Cassis in the states. Are you unable to get Mathilde or do you not consider it good?
How much Chambord in the Kir Royale please
Chambord is my favorite for Champagne cocktails, but this post is the first place I’ve seen someone actually recommend that! Brava! (NB I generally make them with prosecco / cava / crément unless real Champagne is on sale….)
Years ago, at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, DC, I had my first kir royale. There was this nice foam on the top. How do you get that foam?
Hi! I’m not sure about foam, but you can get some bubbles depending on how your pour your champagne.
I beg to differ on the Chambord – I prefer creme de cassis. But either way it’s a pretty good cocktail. A twist of lemon peel makes a pretty garnish, and softens the sweetness ever so slightly.
Can I use Le Marca Prosecco? Is that dry enough??
You could try it. Let me know what you think if you do!