The Kir Royale Is a Classic, Effortlessly Elegant Cocktail

Learn all about the Kir Royale, the classic cocktail that makes a big splash on season three of Emily in Paris.

Two Kir Royales in champagne glasses with berries

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A little sweet, delightfully tart, and pleasantly refreshing, the Kir Royale (also spelled Kir Royal) is suddenly back in a big way, thanks to an appearance in the third season of Emily in Paris. Haven’t tried it yet? We know you’ll love it just as much as Emily did. 

While it sounds fancy and complex, there are only two ingredients in a Kir Royale. Created by a priest and later mayor of Dijon, France, named Canon Felix Kir, the original Kir cocktail combines white wine and Lejay Cassis, a crème de cassis (liqueur made from blackcurrants). The Kir Royale is an elevated version of this drink, with Champagne instead of wine.

Here’s how to make a Kir Royale, as well as a recipe for a modern version with a unique spin. Get ready to say oui and toast just like Emily with this fabulous French treat. 

How to Make a Classic Kir Royale

Brandon Ristaino, co-founder and beverage director at Good Lion Hospitality, has a basic recipe for a Kir Royale.

“Kir Royale is simply ¼ ounce of high-quality crème de cassis (we like the Giffard brand) and 5 ounces of a dry bubbly … or fancy it up with some Champagne!” he says.

Classic Kir Royale Recipe

  1. Measure 5 ounces of dry sparkling wine or Champagne and ¼ ounce of Giffard crème de cassis.
  2. Add all ingredients to a white wine glass. Then, give a gentle stir. Be careful not to stir too much, as it can affect the carbonation of the sparkling wine.

A Cool Spin on the Kir Royale

While Ristaino wouldn’t turn down a classic Kir Royale, he prefers to make his own version of the cocktail, fusing it with a French 75, which is another sparkling French cocktail.

I consider the ‘Kir’ a modifiable category of French aperitif cocktail, rather than a rigid individual drink style, featuring crème de cassis—a blackcurrant liqueur—and a tasty substrate of your choice: a dry and acidic white wine, a Normandy cider, a French lager, or my preference, some French dry sparkling wine,” he says. 

Remember, adding anything bubbly, whether it’s Champagne, sparkling wine, prosecco, or cava, turns an ordinary Kir with that crème de cassis base into a Kir Royale.

Dressed Up Kir Royale Recipe by Brandon Ristaino

  • 1 ounce of cognac, such as Pierre Ferrand 1840 
  • ½ ounce of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce of crème de cassis
  • A splash of simple syrup to taste
  • 1½ ounces of dry French sparkling wine


  1. Combine all ingredients except for the wine in a cocktail shaker. (If you prefer a dry drink, omit the simple syrup.)
  2. Add ice and shake for 6 to 8 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Top with sparkling wine and gently stir in the bubbles. Garnish with a high five to your drinking partner. 

Crème de Cassis Alternatives

No crème de cassis on hand? Did the store run out? Just prefer to make this drink your own way? Use something similar in place of the crème de cassis, such as a tablespoon of blackcurrant syrup. While this doesn’t contain any alcohol, it will make the drink taste sweeter. Alternatively, you can use a raspberry liquor, such as Chambord.

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