Fall 2017 marks the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the twinning between Dallas and Dijon, the French capital of Gastronomy and Wine. Dijon is famous for its mustard, gingerbread, escargots and fabulous wines. Well, another gem traveled directly from Dijon to Dallas and prided itself on having achieved global fame. Meet the Kir cocktail! Familiar or not with Kir, you may want to learn about the man behind the Kir cocktail, the story and the recipe that makes Kir original. If so, this blog is for you.
The Man behind the Kir Cocktail: Story
Legend has it Henri Barabant, a Socialist Mayor of Dijon is the real man behind the Kir cocktail.
The story says that in 1904, Barabant requested a round of drinks at a Dijon café located right under his apartment. The waitress made a mistake and poured white wine into a glass already served in cream of blackcurrant. The Mayor loved the drink and decided to switch to this innovative elixir. He loved it so much that he introduced it to his receptions at the town hall.
However, Canon Félix Kir, French Catholic priest, resistance fighter and Mayor of Dijon from 1945 to 1968, gave his name to the favorite French apéritif.
In 1951, Canon Kir authorized the Dijon manufacturer of blackcurrant cream Lejay-Lagoute to use his name. In 1955, Mayor Kir extended this right to use his name to all liquor houses of Dijon.
Some say that the recipe resulted from the German Army’s confiscation of red Burgundy wines during the war. Others say that the Aligoté wine was too acidic and that the blackcurrant cream made it more enjoyable.
A pioneer of the twinning movement after World War II, Canon Kir contributed to the drink’s fame not only in France but also at the global scale. What a better ambassador for Burgundy products?
Kir Original Recipe
I grew up in Burgundy, and the Kir or Blanc Cassis is part of our tradition. We enjoy our Kir alongside with gougères. Another tradition at the heart of the Burgundy cuisine, Gougères are similar to cheese puffs. We drink Kir as an apéritif on Sundays or when any occasion arises. My mom cooks her fabulous gougères and the whole house deliciously smells the unforgettable flavor of happy life in Burgundy!
1- Shop for a Bourgogne Aligoté. Tweak: you can also use a Petit Chablis if like me you love Chablis. Not the original recipe from Dijon but certainly authentic to the people from Chablis.
2- Make sure you have some Crème de Cassis based on blackcurrant cream.
3- The mix is easy: one-third of Crème de Cassis to pour first in the glass and then add two-thirds of Bourgogne Aligoté wine. Tweak: if you find it to be too sweet, go for 1/5 of Crème de Cassis.
4- Serve Fresh. Prefer glass balloon or flute.
The Communard, another traditional apéritif of the Dijon countryside, is based this time on Burgundy red wine and Crème de Cassis.
To prepare a Kir Royal, replace the Bourgogne Aligoté by a Crémant de Bourgogne. For Kir Imperial, opt for Champagne. Order a Kir; it is the cocktail of 2017!
To celebrate the Twinning Anniversary, the French Alliance of Dallas will organize Apéritif Kir Gougères at Avanti Dallas in September 2017. Stay tuned!