What Is a Kir Royale and How Do You Make It?

Updated: Jan. 04, 2023

Emily in Paris fans have made this classic sparkling wine cocktail the drink of the moment.

Anyone who’s a fan of the popular Netflix show Emily in Paris knows why the Kir Royale is trending. The classic Champagne cocktail pops up as a plot twist as Emily and co-workers sip them at a sunny lunch in Paris’ Place de la Concorde. The ruby-hued drink looks beautiful, and it will surely become the next hot sparkling cocktail, following the recent popularity of the Aperol Spritz and Negroni Sbagliato. But what is a Kir Royale and how do you make one?

What Is a Kir Royale?

As cocktails go, it’s very simple, with only two ingredients: sparkling wine and a black currant liqueur called creme de cassis. The history of the drink, however, is a little more complex—and fascinating.

The cocktail is named for Canon Félix Kir, a French priest who was a hero in the French Resistance during the Second World War. According to Food & Wine, when the Nazis invaded Burgundy, they stole much of the region’s wines. Kir mixed up a local dry white wine, aligoté, along with the creme de cassis, another local specialty. The result looked almost like the famed Burgundian red wines. That original cocktail, with white wine, was named after Kir. After the war, Kir became mayor of the Burgundian town Dijon from 1945 to 1968 and continued to promote his namesake cocktail to cover up the flaws of inferior white wines.

The Kir cocktail, however, continued to evolve. At some point in the 20th century, an enterprising bartender had the bright idea to use sparkling wine instead of aligoté. This bubbly version of the drink was dubbed the Kir Royale.

How to Make a Kir Royale

With so few ingredients and so little technique, the trick here is to use quality sparkling wine and spirits. Real Champagne can be expensive, but there are plenty of cheaper options such as a French cremant or Spanish cava, which work just fine. There are a number of creme de cassis on the market as well, but the real stuff always comes from Dijon, the capital of Burgundy. Look for brands such as L’Heritier-Guyot, or Domaine Lucien Jacob, which are available in the United States and usually sell for under $30.


  • 1/2 ounce creme de cassis
  • 3-4 ounces sparkling wine
  • Lemon peel twist


Step 1: Start with creme de cassis

Pour the creme de cassis in a champagne flute (or small wine glass)

Step 2: Grab the sparkling wine

Top with the sparkling wine of your choice.

Step 3: Finish it off!

Garnish your cocktail with a lemon peel twist.

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