These days, it seems like the best place to find your go-to drink is on television. In October, House of the Dragon star Emma D’Arcy had cocktailians bubbling about the Negroni Sbagliato. With the release of the second season of The White Lotus, we shifted our collective attention to the aperol spritz. Now, as the self-described “booze columnist” Jason Wilson wrote in a recent installment of his Substack, Everyday Drinking, the cocktail du jour is the Kir Royale, thanks to the new season of the expat rom-com Emily in Paris.
According to Wilson, the dry white wine base of this libation was named for Félix Kir. The French priest and politician from Dijon protected it from Nazi looting during World War II. He obscured the valuable commodity by mixing it with crème de cassis, a sweet liquor made with black currants. The Kir Royale swaps out white wine in favor of sparkling.
In Season 3 of Emily in Paris, the titular lead dares to educate French winemakers about the Kir Royale and pitches it as a canned cocktail. There are no wrong ideas in brainstorming, but here in the Bay Area at least, the best way to enjoy a Kir Royale is to spend a leisurely cocktail hour—or two—champagne flute in hand at one of our many French restaurants.
If you’d like to pair the bubbly cocktail with the “poetic culinaria” of one of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, there’s chef Dominique Crenn’s three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn. Or you can toast at La Note, a delightful slice of Provençal life in Downtown Berkeley. But you can also enjoy the sparkling aperitif at beloved dive bars like the Heart and Dagger Saloon in Oakland, where a Kir Royale will only set you back $5. Et voilà, here are a few of our favorite spots.