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The Boulevardier. Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

 

Happy Friday, all. Reposting this cocktail as I’ve been ordering it recently and enjoying it immensely. It remains a perfect cocktail for a chilly spring evening.

I love how various flavoring components (bitters, vermouths) become different cocktails when you change the spirit. How the Manhattan becomes a Rob Roy when you change the bourbon to scotch (as opposed to a lame-sounding “Scotch Manhattan”), or how a Martini becomes a … um, never mind about that #lostcause (Paulius, can we hope for Darwinian selection here?). I love the elasticity of a solid cocktail, how the addition of apple brandy turns a Clover Club into a Pink Lady.

Here, one of my favorite cocktails, the Negroni, becomes a Boulevardier when bourbon replaces the gin. A couple of recent essays (Tmagblog, Imbibe) have wondered why this cocktail isn’t on more menus and I agree. Interestingly, it was apparently invented 20 years before the Negroni in Paris by an American ex-pat socialite who ran a literary magazine, Boulevardier. I do like the 1:1:1 Negroni ratio, but I agree with the others that the Boulevardier is a richer, more satisfying cocktail using more bourbon, here 1.5 parts, with 1 part each vermouth and Campari.

 

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The Boulevardier
  • 45 grams bourbon (1.5 ounces)
  • 30 grams Campari (1 ounce)
  • 30 grams sweet vermouth (1 ounce)
  • lemon twist
  1. Combine the ingredients in a pint glass filled with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or a rocks glass with ice, to preference.
  2. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest.
  3. Put your feet near a fire. Raise the glass to your companion if you’re with one. Otherwise do nothing, say nothing, as you enjoy your first sips of this fine elixir.

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© 2016 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2016 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

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6 Wonderful responses to “The Boulevardier”

  • Bruce Harlick

    Always one of my favorite cocktails; it combines my current passion for rye with my long-standing enjoyment of the Negroni. So easy to make (and so difficult for me to say after 1 or 2 of them.) I’m also a fan of the rum-based Man About Town variation. All yummy stuff.

  • Allen

    I admire the reduced sweet, I find negroni too sweet & adjust the ingredients, let it sit in ice longer to reduce the harshness.

    My blind taste test winner for bourbon, the line up being Elmer T, Blantons, Bookers, Buffalo Trace, Makers Mark, Bakers, Knobb Creek. A bowl of plain popcorn for palate cleans, something I learned recently, since bourbon is corn based.

    The winner: … Buffalo Trace.
    And the tv series Justified

    Cheers!

  • Victoria

    I think a Negroni is the perfect aperitif before an Italian dinner, but I am going to try this tonight. Funny, I bought a bottle of Noilly Prat Rouge for the first time; I usually use Martini & Rossi. I know Carpano Antica is the fancy-pants Italian Vermouth, but I don’t really like it.

    Have you ever had an Ex-pat? Check it out.

  • Steve

    Thanks Michael. This is one of my favorite cocktails as well and I definitely feel like it doesn’t get enough press.
    I have been experimenting with the recipe of this cocktail with several combinations of bourbons and vermouths. I actually have only used Gran Classico bitters as this is what High West uses in their aged-barrel boulavadiere, which is really good. My favorite combination so far is 2 oz of Mitchers single barrel bourbon, 1 oz of Campano Antico, and 1 oz of Gran Classico. Makers works great too. I shall try Buffalo Trace next, Allen.
    Cheers

  • Paulius Nassvytis

    I’m now curious to make the Boulevardier using a cask strength bourbon. Makers cask strength comes in at 111.4 proof, Bookers, which is not a wheated bourbon like Makers Mark, comes in around 140 proof. Perhaps this is an experiment I should do at home…

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