Francine Maroukian
for Valet.
Kir Royale

By John Gonzalez of Bistro La Minette, Philadelphia

Though the classic composition of the Kir Royale is one part cassis to two parts champagne, that's a pretty sweet mix. My dose is dryer—a one to five ratio. We use Maison de Lamartine Crème De Cassis here at the restaurant, made exclusively with blackcurrants from Burgundy. You can substitute another cassis, but look for one from the Dijon region of France. Instead of champagne, we pour Henri Savard Blanc de Blancs, a crisp sparkling wine made from chardonnay grapes with a light fruit bouquet. That one's inexpensive and easy to find. A novice move is adding the cassis to the sparkling wine. But there's a mystical quality to drink and it won't mix properly unless you first pour the cassis and then the wine. The result is a simple but refined aperitif. Velvety and brilliantly colored. Of course, once the cork is popped, you're committed to the bottle, which makes for a good evening.

- As told to Francine Maroukian

The drink's named after Cannon Félix Kir, former mayor of Dijon, credited with inventing the drink.


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