Bastille Day is France’s national holiday commemorating the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789. The French refer to it as la Fête Nationale, a national celebration of the event, which marked the turning point in the French Revolution. At celebrations held throughout France, revelers will raise a glass to toast the unity of the French people; many of those glasses bearing a variation of the Kir cocktail.
The original Kir dating back to the late 1800’s consists of white Burgundy wine flavored with crème de cassis, and was referred to simply as a blanc-cassis. In the years immediately following WWII, it was a favorite of Félix Kir, a parish priest who joined the resistance during the war, and helped 5,000 prisoners escape a prison camp at Longvic. After the war, he was made mayor of Dijon, often serving this cocktail to visiting dignitaries and delegations.
Over the years the recipe has been modified by substituting the white wine with Champagne, creating the Kir Royale; swapping out the cassis liquor in favor of Chambord makes a Kir Impérial. This most decadent iteration improves on the original by adding the tart, bright, floral qualities of raspberries to offset the overall sweetness of the drink.
I decided to pair my Kir Impérial with a smoked salmon, cream cheese, tart pickled red onions, and fresh chives.
1 oz. Chambord
3 oz. Champagne (I prefer Piper-Heidsieck Brut)
Pour Chambord into a nicely chilled glass and top with Champagne. Et voila! Santé!
Smoked salmon with cream cheese, pickled red onions, and chives
4 slices of smoked salmon (sliced in thirds), I prefer Echo Falls
12 Divina toast points, imported from France (located in your cheese department)
Pickled red onions, minced (see recipe here)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Place toasts on a platter. Take four slices of the smoked salmon and slice them into thirds. Place a dollop of cream cheese or crème frâiche onto the toast and fold a slice of the salmon on top. Thinly mince a few slices of pickled red onions and place them on top along with the freshly chopped chives.
Serve immediately alongside a Kir Impérial!