A very popular apéritif in France is a “Kir” and, for us, it’s the best apéro (the abbreviation).
This apéritif originated in Burgundy and is named after Felix Kir, a mayor of Dijon and a hero of the Resistance. To make it, add a finger of crème de cassis to a wine glass and top up with a chilled dry white wine. In Burgundy the favored wine is Bourgogne Aligoté, but a Chablis or a Sauvignon Blanc work well too. To make it very special, add champagne or a crémant wine instead, and then it’s called a “Kir Royale”. Sometimes people add a red wine, then it’s known as a “Cardinal”.
Crème de cassis is a sweet, concentrated blackcurrant liqueur (low alcohol content, about 16%), which is a speciality of Dijon—blackcurrant bushes were planted in many former vineyards after the disastrous phylloxera outbreak. Nuits-St-Georges, a wine town a little south of Dijon, is also a center for these liqueurs, often made with other fruits: crème de framboise (raspberry), crème de mûres (blackberries), and crème de pêches (peaches).
On our recent visit to Paris in August I also tried a Violet Kir for the first time—rather sweet and certainly very violet in color.