Kir: Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail [The Ultimate Guide]

If you enjoy white wine and berries, you’ll love the Kir cocktail!

What is Kir?

The Kir cocktail is a classic French aperitif, blending dry white wine and Crème de Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur. Served in a wine glass without ice, it is stirred gently to preserve clarity and effervescence. Known for its ruby hue and balanced sweet-tart flavor with a hint of berries, Kir is ideal for brunch, dinner parties, or as an aperitif. It pairs well with light appetizers, seafood, and creamy dishes. This simple, elegant drink, popular world-wide for its versatility and refreshing taste, is a testament to the sophistication of minimal ingredients.

What is Crème de Cassis?

Crème de Cassis is a luxurious French liqueur made from blackcurrants. It features a deep red color and a sweet, intense berry flavor. Originating from Burgundy, this liqueur is often used in cocktails like Kir. Also known as blackcurrant liqueur, it is a staple in many bars for its rich taste and versatility in mixology.


The classic Kir cocktail is a harmonious blend of two key ingredients: 3 oz (90 ml) of Dry White Wine and 0.5 oz (15 ml) of Crème de Cassis. This simple yet elegant mix offers a delightful balance of flavors, making the Kir a timeless choice for cocktail enthusiasts.

  • 3 oz (90 ml) White Wine (dry)
  • 1/2 oz (15 ml) Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)

Ingredient Substitutes

For a twist on the traditional Kir, substitute Dry White Wine with Sparkling Wine for a Kir Royale, or Non-Alcoholic White Wine for a sober version. Instead of Crème de Cassis, Blackcurrant Syrup or Chambord can offer a similar berry richness.

  • White Wine Alternatives: Sparkling Wine, Non-Alcoholic White Wine
  • Crème de Cassis Substitutes: Blackcurrant Syrup, Chambord
  • Variations: Kir Royale (with Sparkling Wine), Non-Alcoholic Kir

Ingredient Proportions

The ideal ratio for a Kir is 6 parts Dry White Wine to 1 part Crème de Cassis. This proportion ensures a perfect harmony between the wine’s crispness and the liqueur’s sweet depth, creating a balanced and refreshing cocktail.

  • Ratio: 6:1, Dry White Wine to Crème de Cassis
  • Harmony: Balances crisp wine with sweet liqueur
  • Result: Balanced, refreshing cocktail

Best Ingredients

Select a dry and crisp White Wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, for the base. The key is to find a wine that complements, rather than overpowers, the rich berry notes of the Crème de Cassis, which should be of high quality for the best flavor profile.

  • White Wine Choice: Dry, crisp (e.g., Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Crème de Cassis Quality: High quality for rich flavor
  • Complement: Wine should complement berry notes of liqueur

Flavor Profile

The Kir cocktail presents a delightful interplay of flavors: the crisp, fruity notes of the White Wine beautifully counterbalance the sweet, deep berry flavor of the Crème de Cassis. This combination results in a drink that’s both refreshing and rich, with a smooth, velvety finish.

  • Flavors: Crisp, fruity wine; sweet, deep berry liqueur
  • Experience: Refreshing yet rich
  • Finish: Smooth, velvety

Tools & Equipment

To craft a perfect Kir cocktail, you’ll need a few essential tools: a wine glass for serving, a measuring jigger to accurately measure the ingredients, and a bar spoon for gentle stirring. These tools ensure precision and consistency in your cocktail creation.

  • Serving Glass: Wine glass
  • Measuring Tool: Jigger
  • Stirring: Bar spoon, regular spoon or stirring stick

Instructions for Preparation

To make a Kir cocktail, start by pouring Crème de Cassis into a wine glass. Then, gently top up with chilled dry White Wine. Stir the mixture lightly with a spoon or stirrer to integrate the liqueur with the wine. Optionally, garnish with a lemon twist or fresh berries for an added touch of sophistication. Serve immediately to savor the full flavor and aroma of this classic French aperitif.

  • Step 1: Measure 0.5 oz (15 ml) of Crème de Cassis using a jigger and pour it into the wine glass.
  • Step 2: Slowly add 3 oz (90 ml) of chilled Dry White Wine to the glass.
  • Step 3: Optionally, gently stir the mixture with a bar spoon to integrate the flavors.
  • Step 4: Optionally, garnish with a lemon twist or fresh berries for an added touch of elegance.

Stir or Shake

In the preparation of a Kir cocktail, stirring or shaking is not typically involved. Instead, pour the wine over the liqueur, and serve without stirring. This method allows the Crème de Cassis to infuse naturally into the wine, creating a visually appealing layered effect in the glass, as well as a varied flavor journey, where every sip tastes differently. Alternatively, if a more uniform drinking experience is preferred, you can gently combine the two ingredients together with a spoon or a stirring stick to integrate the flavors.

Pro Tip: Experiment with pouring the liqueur on top of the wine for a different look and journey through flavors.

Ice (Chilling & Dilution)

Traditionally, the Kir is served without ice to avoid dilution. However, both ingredients should be well-chilled before serving. Optionally, the serving glass can also be chilled before serving. This approach keeps the cocktail cool and refreshing while maintaining its full flavor profile.

  • No Ice: Served without ice
  • Pre-chilling: Chill the ingredients, and optionally also the glass, before serving
  • Purpose: Prevent dilution, maintain flavor

Scaling (for a Group)

To scale the Kir for a group, maintain the 6:1 ratio of wine to Crème de Cassis. For instance, for 6 servings, use 18 oz of wine and 3 oz of liqueur. Mix in a large pitcher and serve in individual glasses for a seamless group experience.

  • Ratio: 6:1, wine to liqueur
  • Example: 18 oz wine, 3 oz liqueur for 6 servings
  • Serving: Large pitcher, individual glasses

Troubleshooting (Biggest Mistakes)

The most common mistake is incorrect proportions, which can overpower the cocktail with either too much wine or liqueur. Another error is using ingredients at room temperature, which affects the drink’s refreshing quality. Always use chilled components for the best experience.

  • Proportion Error: Too much wine or liqueur
  • Temperature Mistake: Room temperature ingredients
  • Solution: Correct ratios, chilled ingredients


The presentation of a Kir cocktail is key to its allure. Its elegant simplicity, characterized by a vibrant ruby hue, invites a visual delight before the first sip. Serving it in the right glassware with an appropriate garnish enhances its sophisticated charm.

Glassware (Classic and Alternative)

Traditionally, a Kir is served in a classic wine glass, which showcases its color and allows the aroma to develop. For a modern twist, a flute glass adds a touch of sophistication, especially for a Kir Royale that uses sparkling wine. The choice of glassware can elevate the drinking experience.

  • Classic: Wine glass
  • Modern Twist: Flute glass
  • Purpose: Showcase color, enhance aroma

Garnish (Classic and Creative)

The classic Kir recipe does not call for a garnish. However, it is common to drop a few fresh berries into the glass or decorate it with a lemon twist, adding a citrus aroma that complements the drink’s flavor. For a creative touch, consider a sprig of thyme or an edible flower. These garnishes provide a visual and aromatic enhancement to the cocktail.

  • Classic Garnish: None
  • Optional Garnish: Fresh berries, lemon twist
  • Creative Options: Thyme sprig, edible flowers
  • Role: Enhance aroma and visual appeal

Variations & Riffs

The Kir cocktail has inspired a variety of popular variations, each offering a unique twist while maintaining the essence of the original.

  • Kir Royale: A celebratory version using sparkling wine instead of still white wine.
  • Kir Pétillant: Utilizes Prosecco or another sparkling wine for a lighter effervescence.
  • Kir Imperial: Made with raspberry liqueur (such as Chambord) instead of Crème de Cassis.
  • Kir Normand: Cider replaces the wine, offering a rustic, fruity alternative.
  • Hibiscus Kir: Incorporates hibiscus syrup for a floral, tangy flavor.
  • White Kir: Uses white currant liqueur for a lighter, crisper variant.

These variations showcase the versatility of the Kir, adapting to different tastes and occasions.

Also, you can try one of many other easy two-ingredient cocktails.

Experiment – Creating Your Own Riff

To create your own Kir variation, consider playing with different base spirits, liqueurs, and additives. For instance, swapping Crème de Cassis with other fruit liqueurs like peach, apricot, or elderflower can introduce new flavor profiles. Adding a dash of soda water, fruit juices, or bitters can also transform the cocktail into something uniquely yours. Remember, the key is to balance the sweetness of the liqueur with the base to maintain the Kir’s characteristic harmony.

  • Base Spirits: Different wines, ciders, or non-alcoholic alternatives
  • Liqueur Variations: Peach, apricot, elderflower, etc.
  • Additives: Soda water, fruit juices, bitters
  • Goal: Balance sweetness with the base, create unique flavors

Serving Occasions

The Kir cocktail, with its elegant profile and refreshing taste, is versatile for various occasions. It’s perfect for a sophisticated brunch, as a welcome drink at dinner parties, or as a relaxing evening aperitif. Its adaptability also makes it a hit at celebrations like weddings or holiday gatherings, where its simplicity and elegance shine.

  • Brunch: Sophisticated choice for daytime gatherings
  • Dinner Parties: Welcome drink
  • Evening Aperitif: Relaxing pre-dinner option
  • Celebrations: Weddings, holidays
  • Versatility: Suits a wide range of occasions

Food Pairings

The Kir’s crisp and fruity flavor profile makes it an excellent companion to various cuisines. It pairs wonderfully with light appetizers like cheese platters, especially goat cheese or Brie. Seafood dishes, such as oysters or smoked salmon, also complement the Kir’s refreshing nature. For a heartier pairing, try it with poultry or pasta dishes that feature creamy or citrus-based sauces.

  • Appetizers: Cheese platters, goat cheese, Brie
  • Seafood: Oysters, smoked salmon
  • Hearty Dishes: Poultry, pasta with creamy or citrus sauces
  • Complement: Enhances and balances a range of flavors


The Kir cocktail enjoys a distinguished reputation and enduring popularity, particularly in its French homeland and among cocktail aficionados worldwide. Its appeal lies in its simplicity, the delightful balance of flavors, and its versatility in various settings. The combination of dry white wine and the sweet, rich crème de cassis creates a drink that is both refreshing and sophisticated, appealing to a broad audience.

  • Reputation: Popular globally, particularly beloved in France
  • Appeal: Simple yet sophisticated
  • Flavor Balance: Dry wine with sweet berry liqueur
  • Versatility: Suitable for many occasions and audiences

Why Try the Kir Cocktail?

You should try the Kir cocktail for its unique balance of flavors and its versatility. It’s an excellent introduction to aperitifs and is a testament to the art of cocktail making with minimal ingredients. Whether you’re a cocktail enthusiast or new to the world of mixed drinks, the Kir offers a delightful experience, showcasing how simple ingredients can create a sophisticated and enjoyable beverage.

  • Unique Flavors: Perfect balance of sweet and dry
  • Introduction: Ideal for newcomers to aperitifs
  • Minimal Ingredients: Simplicity at its finest
  • Experience: Delightful, sophisticated
  • Suitability: Appeals to both enthusiasts and beginners
Kir - Blackcurrant Cocktail

Kir: Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail

Discover the classic Kir cocktail, an exquisite mix of dry white wine and crème de cassis–a blackcurrant liqueur–served in a wine glass, often garnished with fresh berries or a lemon twist. Known for its vibrant ruby hue and sweet-tart berry flavor, this elegant drink is ideal for brunches, dinner parties, or as a sophisticated evening aperitif.
Total Time 3 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Wine glass
  • 1 Spoon or stirring stick


  • 3 oz Creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
  • ½ oz White wine (dry)
  • Berries (fresh; optional - for garnish)


  • Berries: Optionally, drop a few fresh berries into the bottom of the glass for additional burst of flavor and visual flair.
  • Pour Crème de Cassis: Measure and pour Crème de Cassis into the wine glass.
  • Add White Wine: Gently top up the glass with dry white wine.
  • Stir Gently: Use a spoon or stirring stick to lightly stir the mixture, ensuring the flavors are well combined. Alternatively, leave un-stirred for a two-colored layered effect.
  • Garnish: Optionally, add some fresh berries (e.g., on a cocktail stick) or lemon (e.g., twist of zest) for an extra touch of elegance, flavor and aroma.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: blackcurrant, creme de cassis, white wine
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