When we hear the word Burgundy here in the US, most will think of a deep shade of red. Sometimes confused with maroon, it has a red-purplish hue, whereas maroon has, as I understand, a reddish-brown hue. But in the wine world, Burgundy refers to the French wine region in central eastern France. Red Burgundy is understood to be Pinot Noir, and white Burgundy is understood to be Chardonnay.
I am finally getting around to doing that. A friend suggested I read the book, Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter. It is a non-fiction story that recounts an extortionist’s 2010 attempt to extract €1 million from a French wine proprietor in Burgundy. What captured my interest was the author’s description of the area’s rolling green hills, narrow roads, and vineyards. Enamored with his descriptions, I downloaded an audio edition to simultaneously hear and read the text. I attribute this book to renewing my interest in the region’s wines and the Kir cocktail.
The drink gets its name from Félix Kir, who in the early 20th century was mayor of Dijon (the capital city of Burgundy. Some believe Kir offered the cocktail to foreign visitors, who brought the recipe home. Traditionally made with Aligoté, the “other” white wine from Burgundy (not Chardonnay) and Crème de Cassis (a sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants). There are variations.
It is hard to say how these variations would be received by the residents of Burgundy, but here are some that make this an easy and creative before-dinner cocktail;
Kir Imperial – Chambord (French liqueur based on raspberries) and Champagne (not any other sparkling wine)
Kir Royale – substitutes Champagne for Aligoté but uses Crème de Cassis instead of Chambord.
Kir Cardinal – substitutes red wine for white wine and uses Crème de Cassis.
Kir Mocktail (nonalcoholic) – Use grenadine instead of Crème de Cassis or Chambord and sparkling water.
My favorite is 4½ ounces of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and ¾ ounces of Chambord served in a Champagne flute.
Experiment and find your favorite variation. Cheers!