As outlined in our origin for 'Kir', this drink is named after Canon Félix Kir, who served as the Mayor of Dijon, France 1945-1968 and popularised the drink by serving it at official functions. In 1951, when the drink was becoming well-known, members of the Damidot family, owners of the Lejay-Lagoutte brand of cassis and the largest liqueur producer in the region, asked the mayor for his authorization to use his (Kir) name commercially.
Probably flattered, he agreed and on 20 November 1951, on a French National Assembly letterhead, wrote: "Canon Félix Kir, Member of Parliament and Mayor of Dijon, gives exclusively to the house of Lejay Lagoute, currently represented by Roger Damidot, the right to use his name for blackcurrant liqueur advertising purposes, in the form he sees fit, and notably to designate a 'vin blanc cassis'. Armed with this letter, Lejay Lagoute patented the brand name 'KIR' in March 1952.
Years later, after seeing the increasing popularity of kir as an aperitif, the canon sought to offer other cassis makers the same privilege but due to Lejay-Lagoutte having already registered the "Kir" trade mark he was too late. Numerous court challenges ensued propelling the case to the highest court, 'Cour de Cassation' where on 27-October 1992 it confirmed that Lejay-Lagoutte has the exclusive rights to the 'Kir' trademark.
Lejay-Lagoutte now produce a pre-mixed cassis and sparkling wine product called 'Kir Royal'.
ingredients in the cocktail
15mlCreme de Cassis
how to make the cocktail
Pour crème de cassis into the champange flute and top with champagne