Perhaps more than even the Negroni, the Boulevardier is an elegant trifecta of flavors, balancing bittersweet liqueurs, botanical vermouth and the warm spices of whiskey. The Embarcadero is a San Franciscan take on the Boulevardier, though it comes by way of Claire Sprouse, the founder of New York City’s all-day cafe and bar Hunky Dory. Sprouse is also an award-winning bartender with accolades from Tales of the Cocktail and Food & Wine.
Sprouse uses Lo-Fi amaro and vermouth in the Embarcadero. The label, based in the Bay Area, produces two vermouths and an amaro, and was developed in part by Sprouse herself. The base of each bottle is a wine made with exclusively Californian grapes, much of it from Napa.
The sweet vermouth in the Embarcadero differentiates itself from most other sweet vermouths in its color; rather than the dark red it’s traditionally associated with, Lo-Fi sweet vermouth is made with a white wine base that gives it a pale gold hue. Its botanical blend, too, is unique, with rhubarb, cocoa, cloves, coriander, cardamom, gentian, dried fruit and other natural ingredients, all displayed on the bottle with a stylish label.
Rather than the Campari traditionally used for a Boulevardier, the Embarcadero uses Lo-Fi’s Gentian Amaro, a dark red bittersweet liqueur that gives the drink a vibrant orange flush. Like the sweet vermouth, the amaro is a unique blend of herbs, spices, fruits, and other natural ingredients including anise, hibiscus, grapefruit, ginger and, of course, gentian.
While the choice of rye whiskey is up to your personal preference (and the availability of specific ryes), there’s not much flexility with the recipe, given the specificity of the vermouth and amaro and the way they define the drink. This can make it particularly difficult to make if you’re not living in California or New York, the two states where the vermouths are readily available, though they have made it to a few other markets. However, those who really want to try this cocktail from a famed bartender, or even just try Lo-Fi’s vermouths on their own or in other cocktails, they are available online at a variety of stores.
- 1 ounce Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro
- 1 ounce Lo-Fi Sweet Vermouth
- 1 ounce rye whiskey
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add all ingredients into a rocks glass over a large ice cube and stir to combine.
Garnish with a lemon twist.