Why Is Everyone Talking About My Grandma's Favorite Cocktail?

This retro champagne cocktail is poised to be the first drink trend of 2023 thanks to a Netflix show.

Refreshing Alcoholic Kir Royale with Champagne Raspberries with two flutes of the cocktail on a plate.
Photo: iStock / Getty Images Plus

My grandma is a lot of things, but I wouldn't say trendsetter is one of them. At 99 years old, she is not trying new trends either; she's famously stuck in her ways, eating the same breakfast every day for decades. That's why I was shocked to hear that her cocktail of choice is on everyone's lips. Is my nana setting the first cocktail trend of 2023? I had to investigate.

It turns out it has nothing to do with Nana and everything to do with Emily — "Emily in Paris," that is. The third season of the popular Netflix show just came out, and one cocktail, in particular, is in the spotlight: the Kir Royale.

A screenshot of Emily drinking a kir royale cocktail on the Netflix show, Emily in Paris.

What Is a Kir Royale?

A Kir Royale is a sparkling cocktail made with champagne and fruit liqueur, traditionally crème de cassis. Crème de cassis is a French liqueur made from black currants that has been made the same way in the region of Burgundy for over 150 years. In a pinch, some will swap in Chambord for the cassis, a type of fruit liqueur made from raspberries.

Crème de cassis has a deep red color, giving the Kir Royale a lovely pink hue. It's always served in a champagne flute and sometimes garnished with a raspberry to accentuate its rosy color, though not always. In terms of taste, it's pretty sweet, depending on how much cassis liqueur you add as well as the champagne you pick. Think of it like, "a fizzy wine cooler", as one character in "Emily in Paris" describes it.

Don't love the bubbly stuff? The Kir Royale is actually just one variation of the Kir, a cocktail made with that same crème de cassis liqueur, but mixed with a dry white wine instead of champagne.

When to Drink a Kir Royale

Now for a little French lesson. The Kir Royale is typically regarded as an apéritif, the French word for a drink served before dinner or alongside appetizers and intended to inspire an appetite. Apéro, short for apéritif, describes the time in which these cocktails are served, and is a longstanding tradition in French culture.

L'apéro, as it's known, is kind of like a cocktail hour meets Spanish tapas: a time when people stop what they're doing (typically in the late afternoon/early evening) and convene over light drinks and small plates of food. It's where you'd also drink popular cocktails like the Aperol Spritz and Negroni Sbagliato.

Apéro is where Emily Cooper, the protagonist in "Emily in Paris," tries a Kir Royale for the first time. Sitting in front of the Ferris wheel in the Tuileries Garden, Emily is introduced to the sparkling drink while catching up with former coworkers. The drink is a recurring theme throughout season 3 of the show, even going so far as to be pitched as the next canned cocktail trend for the, "18-35s."

Simple, light, and fizzy, this cocktail is poised for an all-out comeback, if we're to believe Emily Cooper. It's pink and sweet and perfect for brunch — practically a millennial's dream drink. It's certainly caught traction, with Google searches on the "Kir Royale" shooting up exponentially since the season premiered.

Ready to sample this cocktail for yourself? Here's how easy it is to make one.

How to Make a Kir Royale

While you sadly can't get your hands on Champére, the fictional champagne from the show, you can make this drink at home, and very easily. To make a Kir Royale, follow this recipe, or simply add a little creme de cassis liqueur to your bubbly the next time you pop open a bottle. You're aiming for about 1 tablespoon per flute, but I recommend adding it to taste depending on the sweetness or dryness of your champagne.

The Kir Royale is just the latest in a growing trend of classic cocktails that have been revived by Gen Z, in part thanks to social media; Martinis, Manhattans, Cosmopolitans.... Which left me wondering, what other retro drinks do you think are due for a comeback in 2023?

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