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Watch Party

Kir Royales, Champagne and Crémant

Written by Caroline SchiffPhotos by Andrew Bezek

EDITOR'S NOTE: What's better than watching a riveting drama with great food and drink, right? Here are some scrumptious recipes crafted by Chef Caroline Schiff for your next French binge watch!

Kir Royales, Champagne and Crémant

Champagne, its close cousin Crémant and Kir Royales

french party kir royale 1 1027x1540

For one cocktail
1/3 oz Crème de Cassis
6 oz dry Champagne or Crémant

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Notes from the Chef:

This is a very unpopular opinion, but I don’t really like cocktails. If you do like them, that’s great. We can all drink whatever we want, but for me cocktails have too much going on when I’m eating, and they tend to make my palette feel muddied. They just don’t compliment food for me. Wine, Champagne and its close cousin Crémant are the way to go, and for those guests who want a cocktail, I love a Kir Royal, which is so simple and elegant. The earthy black currant liqueur gives the bubbles some more body and depth that pairs so well with rich bites. I recommend having lots of chilled bottles of bubbles on hand for this kind of party, a bottle of Crème de Cassis, and if your crowd is the liquor drinking kind, a well-stocked, self-serve bar. People can help themselves and you won’t be stuck playing bartender all night.

Champagne and Crémant are closely related and to me, the most celebratory, elegant and festive thing you can offer. What’s the difference? Well, this could start a very heated debate, but in my mind the biggest difference is the accessibility. Crémant is French sparkling wine that is grown and produced with very similar guidelines as Champagne but is not from the Champagne region and therefore cannot be called Champagne. Now, I realize this is an oversimplification, as each winemaker will have their own nuances and the terroir of the region is so specific, but I love Crémants because you can get the same dry, biscuit-y bubbles from France at a fraction of the price. There are eight Crémant producing regions in France, each with their own characters, but my favorites are Crémant d’Alsace and Crémant de Bourgogne. Ask for them at your local wine shop, and odds are they’ll have a few different kinds to choose from, usually for $30 and under. If you want to shell out for champagne or have a few special bottles on hand for a midnight toast, go for it!


  1. Pour the Crème de Cassis in the bottom of a flute.
  1. Top with the Champagne or Crémant

Pair this recipe with:

Benjamin Lebel is a luminary in his field: an internationally renowned wine expert who publishes a keenly-awaited yearly guide and a part-time sleuth whose intuition and nose are stimulated by puzzling murders. Set in the loveliest wine-growing regions in France, Blood of the Vine is a series of full-bodied, yet light thrillers adapted from the crime collection published by Fayard.

French Watch Party Recipes

About the Chef
Caroline Schiff is a chef based in Brooklyn, NY with a decade of experience in restaurants and bakeries. In May 2018 she launched her culinary consulting firm ParadigmSchiff, offering recipe and product development, menu consultations, concept development and corporate events. In winter 2019 Caroline will take on the role of Pastry Chef at the re-opening of Gage & Tollner, the legendary Brooklyn restaurant. She has been featured on Vice: Munchies, Food Network’s Beat Bobby FlayGenius Kitchen,, Hulu’s Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi and stars in the documentary series, Her Name Is Chef. Follow Caroline here: @pastryschiff.