The Twelve Drinks of Christmas: Volume 2, Drink 8

Sometimes the holidays are about just making it through. Sure, we start the season imagining afternoons baking cookies, singing carols by an open fire, maybe even roasting a chestnut or two, but by the time that last week rolls around, we just hope we can get the most stuff completed before taking time off with the family. The lights are not always going to shine brightest at just the right time. I get that and there is nothing wrong with it. You do the best you can. So, with a nod toward not beating yourself up when that one light knocks out the whole strand, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Kir Royale.

This drink is a variation on the standard Kir Aperitif, made fancy by swapping in champagne for the usual white wine. The 1904 original comes to us from the Cafe George in Dijon, France where it was named for Canon Felix Kir, who promoted it heavily as mayor of the town. There are a ton of of riffs on this creme liqueur and wine or cider base, but the most popular is the sparkling wine based Kir Royale, so named because of the metric system, allegedly.

This is a classic built in the glass, or in this case, light bulb, cocktail. It typically only has two ingredients, but to give this one a bit of holiday flavor,I am tossing in a third. So, if you want the classic, just skip the grenadine. Grab an appropriate vessel and toss 1/2 an ounce of creme de cassis, I went with Giffard’s Creme de Cassis d’Anjou and top with 4 ounces of a nice sparkling wine, I opted for Aldi’s second best Burlwood Cellars Brut. I probably should have gone with a prosecco or something on the sweet side, but I did not, so there you are. I had imagined this one as a beautiful red color, but it was a bit on the brown side and super dry, so I added 1/2 an ounce of grenadine which brought the color right up and made it sweet enough for the wife to enjoy while baking cookies.

It’s a good drink. Not terribly complex, especially with that grenadine added to help mask any nuance of flavor. Like any of this style of drink, the sparkling wine you choose is going to make a huge difference. You can sub in some black raspberry Chambord if you don’t want to go the black currant route and achieve a similar drink. It is definitely better without the grenadine, but not quite as pretty, so choices were made.

The wife brought this glass to me from a holiday pop up she attended in DC and insisted that we work it in. No worries, I figured we’d find something colorful and pop it down in the middle of a pile of awesome vintage Christmas lights. It was a great plan, till I could not find the box of lights. No worries, Grandma has a whole pile of them in her basement. I found them easily and after half an hour of chasing which bulb is out, I gave up. I ran back to the house, made the drink leaned up on some greenery. The best laid plans and all that. If one can take a picture petulantly, I did that; kicking myself the whole time for not planning better. That voice in the back of my head reminding me just how much I had let everyone down by not being able to perfectly recreate the picture in my mind of how things should be. It is a fine drink, with a fine picture. Nothing special, but certainly fine. Here’s the cool part. If I had not said anything. no one would have ever known. That’s how it works most of the time. You beat yourself up because things are not just so, but no one else even notices. They think you’re awesome, just the way you are. So don’t beat yourself up too much and enjoy the holidays, as best you can. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay festive, my friends.