It's a special weekend: my mom is visiting along with a bunch of other parents of our friends for our annual cheeky Parents' Weekend. Feels like college days again. Except instead of beer in plastic cups, we're all grown up and going to serve them a festive cocktail. So in honor of our Eating Local, Eating Well month, I'm cooking up a local Kir Royale. Some time ago, I went to a tasting of the Hudson Valley's own Clinton Vineyards wines with one of the proprietors, Phyllis Feder an exuberant, sweet and statuesque woman whose wines, made mostly from the Seyval grape, are good. But her Cassis was unbelievable. And the story is good: made from black currants (once banned as a crop in the U.S. because of a fungus carried by the berries that was poisonous to white pine trees), Clinton Vineyards is currently the only U.S. producer of true Cassis.
I just picked up a bottle at Vintage New York just around the corner from my office. While I was there, I met Kyle, the store manager, who suggested Swedish Hill Vineyards' Blanc de Blanc for the sparkling side of my Kir Royale. He said he likes to call it a Kir Imperial, in honor of this, our Empire state, not to be confused with the sparkling wine cocktail using raspberry-flavored framboise liqueur (creme de framboise.) I love it.
Local Kir Royale makes 1
5 parts New York State sparkling wine 1 part Clinton Vineyards Cassis
Pour the Cassis into a champagne or wine glass. Slowly add the wine.
Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. The third, written with co-author Faith Durand, is The Kitchn Cookbook. It will be published in Fall 2014 by Clarkson Potter.
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