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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"white wine and crème de cassis," 1966 (popular in U.S. 1980s), from Canon Felix Kir (1876-1968), mayor of Dijon, who is said to have invented the recipe.


n. A cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis topped up with white wine.

Kir (cocktail)

Kir is a popular French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine.

In France it is usually drunk as an apéritif before a meal or snack. It used to be made with Bourgogne Aligoté, a lesser white wine of Burgundy. Now, various white wines are used throughout France, according to the region and the whim of the barkeeper. Many prefer a white Chardonnay-based Burgundy, such as Chablis.

It used to be called blanc-cassis, but it is now named after Félix Kir (1876–1968), mayor of Dijon in Burgundy. Kir was a pioneer of the twinning movement in the aftermath of the Second World War, and popularized the drink by offering it at receptions to visiting delegations. Besides treating his international guests well, he was also promoting two economic products of the region. Kir allowed one of Dijon's producers of crème de cassis to use his name, then extended the right to their competitors as well. According to Rolland (2004), the reinvention of blanc-cassis (post 1945) was necessitated by the German Army's confiscation of all the local red Burgundy during the war. Faced with an excess of white wine, Kir renovated a drink that used to be made primarily with the red.

Another explanation that has been offered is that Mayor Kir revived it during a year in which the ordinary white wine of the region was inferior and the creme de cassis helped to disguise the fact.

Following the commercial development of crème de cassis in 1841, the cocktail became a popular regional café drink, but has since become inextricably linked internationally with the name of Mayor Kir. When ordering a kir, waiters in France sometimes ask whether the customer wants it made with crème de cassis (blackcurrant), de mûre (blackberry) or de pêche (peach).

The International Bartenders Association gives a recipe using 1/10 crème de cassis, but French sources typically specify more; 19th-century recipes for blanc-cassis recommended 1/3 crème de cassis, which modern tastes find cloyingly sweet, and modern sources typically about 1/5. Replacing the crème de cassis with blackcurrant syrup is discouraged.


KIR, Kir or kir may refer to:

  • Kir (river), in northern Albania
  • KIR, ISO 3166-1 code for the Republic of Kiribati
  • Kyrgyz language
  • Al Karak, biblical town of Kir
  • Kir of Moab, biblical stronghold
  • IATA code for Kerry Airport in Ireland
  • Kir (cocktail), alcoholic beverage
  • Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor, a class of receptors on the surface of natural killer cells
  • Kir Bulychev, Russian science fiction writer and historian
  • Kir, a fictional character in Detective Conan
  • K, inwardly-rectifying potassium channels
Kir (river)

The Kir ( or Kiri) is a river in northern Albania that first flows south-southwest and then southwest out of the North Albanian Alps and enters a distributary of the Drin just below Shkodër.

In the upper reaches the river cuts the "Canyon of the Kir" with dramatic cliffs. Just outside Shkodër, in Mes, the old stone Mes Bridge crosses the Kir.

Usage examples of "kir".

Jason gave Kira the credit before Gram hustled their attendees back toward the house, all of them highly entertained, ready for the dessert buffet, a visit to the aviary, and dancing.

Kira said, while she helped him unstring the lights from the stair rail leading to the aviary, the birds screaming as if they knew she was there and could hardly wait for her arrival.

She would have considered it a bargain to have her head sawed off with a blunt sword in exchange for the privilege of beheading Kira.

No whining demands or kinky requirements, no bimbo with a list of all-star studs with which to compete, just him and Kira, and foreplay at its finest.

Then the bimbo from the auction threw herself into his arms, and Kira turned off the set.

Like Kira inside Crim or Crim inside Kira, it was creating great stress and unhappiness and had the potential to drive her mad, a potential almost realized in her initial situation with this potion-created mate of hers, and after, where she has always taken the easy way out to flee her own inner demons.

Now Crim and Kira were gonna die for her, too, and maybe most or alt of the people she loved here!

Misa, then Crim and Kira, Yobi, the great overland journey and her mental breakdown on it, Etanalon and her magic mirrors, then the unexpected life with four husbands and an extended family in a primitive place, the attack by Zamofir, the rescue, the body switching ploy, and all the restit all seemed, somehow, like something in a dream, a panorama, that had a few good parts but was mostly nightmare.

Kira, in fact, was just back after a couple of months on the road with Crim and the kids setting up some new delivery contracts, and she was just seeing some of the new projects after being away.

They each spoke a few awkward words, and even Furel had been in tears, but Kira had remained dry-eyed.

Kira fashion, she stroked the hockey stick she was holding suggestively, just enough to make him a little bit uncomfortable, then she raised it in challenge, as if it were a sword.

Kira and Zane were, literally, sword fighting with their hockey sticks.

Wednesday at hockey practice he let Kira dole out hot chocolate without asking her to put on skates, which left her free to sing Zane to sleep, which left Travis free to skate like a pro.

The three of them strolled across the room of topaz light, stopping momentarily as one of the girls offered them tea and rice wine, and Kiri introduced them one by one to the women who were not already engaged with men.

Down the wide sweeping stairs and into a square covered carriage Kiri called a ricksha.