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Burgundy's Famous "Kir"

This popular French cocktail is drunk as an aperitif before a meal and was 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, the fact that local wine was often somewhat acidic, so the sweetness of the liquor 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. Blackcurrants have about seven times as much vitamin C as oranges and the drink certainly seemed to agree with Canon Kir, as he lived to over ninety.

Besides the basic Kir, a number of variations exist:

  • Kir Royal - made with Champagne
  • Kir Pétillant - made with sparkling wine
  • Communard/Cardinal - made with red wine instead of white
  • Kir Imperial - made with raspberry liqueur instead of cassis, and Champagne
  • Kir Normand - made with Normandy cider instead of wine.
  • Kir Breton - made with Breton cider instead of wine.
  • Cidre Royal - made with cider instead of wine, with a measure of calvados.
  • Hibiscus Royal - made with sparkling wine, peach liqueur, raspberry liqueur, and a hibiscus flower. Also found with sparkling wine and pear schnapps.
  • Kir Peche - made with peach liqueur.
  • Pamplemousse - made with red grapefruit liqueur and sparkling white wine.
  • Tarantino - made with lager or light ale ("kir-beer").
  • the Pink Russian - made with milk instead of wine.


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