Monday, May 16, 2011

French Apéritif and "Le Kir" - The Kir

While in Provence MH and I stayed at the "B&B" Jardin de Bacchus. While there, on two beautiful evenings, we had the pleasure of having dinner with Christine and Erik, the proprietors and gracious hosts of Jardin de Bacchus.  Prior to dinner, we were offered an Apéritif, or apéro for short, which is similar to the American Happy Hour or "L apéro."

The Apéritif involves relaxing with a cocktail as a way to open the meal and whet the appetite of diners. It is usually served with a light snack to enjoy while you sip your cocktail. I have to say the French prepare the Apéritif with the same style and attention to presentation that they seem to do all of their meals.

Our host Erik offered us a few different Apéritifs and I chose to enjoy "Le Kir."  The Kir is a light and refreshing drink made with crème de cassis (a blackcurrant liqueur) and dry white wine.  It is served very cold and is a perfect drink to enjoy on a warm spring evening.  It's rose color and lightness can't help but make you feel happier and lift your spirits (play on words here!)

The Kir is named after Felix Kir (1876–1968), mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who popularized the drink by offering it at receptions to visiting delegations. Dijon is located in the heart of the Burgundy region where the same soil and climate that produces the fine wines of Burgundy also produces flavorful and rich blackcurrants. Following the later commercial development of crème de cassis, Kir became a popular regional café drink and has remained linked internationally with the name of Felix Kir.

To mix the perfect Kir:

Pour 3/4 of an ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) of crème de cassis into a white wine glass, fill with dry white wine, and finish with a twist of lemon.

This past Saturday evening, I decided to try my hand at preparing Le Kir for MH, MDD and her Fiancé.  I followed the recipe exactly and found that the drink seemed to be more intense than what I recall Erik preparing.  I think perhaps the next time I'll add less crème de cassis or more white wine.  They were delicious though and I think this drink will be enjoyed on several occasions this summer!

In case you want to prepare the Kir for your next L apéro, for the blackcurrant liqueur I would recommend using either     G. E. Massenez Crème de Cassis de Dijon or Rouviere Fils Sirop de Cassis. (You can also prepare Le Kir with de mûre (blackberry) or de pèche (peach) liqueurs.)  For the white wine, I used a 2005 Vincent Dureuil-Janthial Bourgogne Aligoté.

Dry white wine: Vincent Dureuil-Janthial Bourgogne Aligoté.  Crème de cassis: G. E. Massenez Crème de Cassis de Dijon or Rouviere Fils Sirop de Cassis.

1 1/2 Tablespoons of crème de cassis

Fill glass with dry white wine

"Le Kir" - Finished drinks but I forgot the twist of lemon! Oh well, Santé!

À votre santé ("to your health")


1 comment:

  1. We're going to try a French dinner this weekend. I tired a lamb and eggplant meatloaf, but it wasn't as good as Chritine's. I assume she used no mint. Did she puree or just finely chop? I'm going with absinth instead of kir for the appertif! Doc Pepper