French in a Flash: Kir Royale Sangria


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

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There are drinks you make in glasses, and drinks you make in pitchers. The drinks in the pitchers are the party drinks. This Saturday is Bastille Day, and it is a day for parties.

Myself being American, I haven't always observed Bastille Day, so the stolen Bastille Days that are accidentally celebrated are that much more fabulous. The can-can dancing on the bar at (now closed) Florent in the Meatpacking District. The explosions of pastel fireworks by the Eiffel Tower from the Pont des Arts in Paris. Or a lazy, boozy pétanque picnic with Mr. English. July 14 is a day that deserves a pitcher of something bubbly, delicious, and ever so slightly intoxicating—just like France.

On Saturday, I am making a pitcher of my proprietary concoction: Kir Royale Sangria, along with a roasted garlic Camembert en croûte for another pétanque picnic. The Kir Royale Sangria, of course, takes its inspiration from the Kir Royale, a glass of champagne stained with a shot of crème de cassis. In this version, I stir together a bottle of rosé champagne, a spoonful of sugar, a hefty glug of crème de cassis, and a glass of sparkling water. The finishing touch is frozen berries. In Europe, if you buy mixed frozen berries you'll get strawberries, blackberries, and red and black currants, which pair perfectly with the cassis. But American mixed berries will work perfectly well, too. They add sweetness, body, and double as ice cubes. The sangria is fresh, bubbly, sweet, and dry at once, and full of life. Chin-chin—to a wonderful fête. Vive la France!

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Kir Royale Sangria »