Loosely translated, a boulevardier is a man-about-town. A cocktail by the same name was created by Erskine Gwynne, the publisher of “Boulevardier,” a magazine for expats living in Paris in the 1920s. The drink was popularized after it was included in Harry MacElhone’s 1927 book “Barflies and Cocktails.” It it, the author credited the cocktail to Gwynne, a regular at MacElhone’s bar. It’s a tidy story, just like the drink it inspired.
Employing whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari, the Boulevardier is simply a riff on the classic Negroni that is adored for its deft balance of bitter, boozy and sweet. The difference in flavor, however, is anything but simple. While the gin-based Negroni is crisp and bracing, the whiskey-based Boulevardier is rich and warming, the exact drink you want to reach for on a chilly fall or winter evening.
When making the Boulevardier, choose your ingredients wisely. The best examples hinge on a happy marriage between the base spirit and the sweet vermouth. Now’s not the time to cheap out on either, as both play integral roles in balancing the flavor and weight of the cocktail. Most recipes utilize bourbon, though some people prefer the spicier quality of rye whiskey. Both have their charms, but today you’re most likely to find the Boulevardier made with bourbon.
While the Negroni calls for its ingredients in equal parts, this recipe (like many others) features the whiskey in a slightly higher proportion, allowing it to cut through the bitter Campari and the rich, herbal vermouth. Stir everything together with ice, garnish with an orange twist, and take yourself back to 1920s Paris.
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- 1 1/4 ounces bourbon (or rye)
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Garnish: orange twist
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with an orange twist.