There’s nothing like unwinding with the occasional cocktail at the end of the day. For some, it’s a martini or a gimlet while others prefer the likes of a classic Negroni. But if you’re not keen on vodka or gin, it’s time to meet the Boulevardier—a Negroni with bourbon. A richly layered, complex libation, the Boulevardier is an all-too-often underrated classic cocktail.
Intrigued? Here’s why you should give the Boulevardier a try.
What Is a Boulevardier?
It’s a Negroni (equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) that substitutes bourbon for gin. The switch is simple, but the flavor profile couldn’t be more different. That sweetness and hint of smoke you find in bourbon makes the Boulevardier less bitter than the Negroni and adds more nuance. Many favor it for autumn and winter drinking while cozied up near a fire.
The Origins of the Boulevardier
This cocktail dates back to Prohibition-era Paris. It was first mixed up by the legendary Harry MacElhone, an early 20th-century bartender famous for Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. He crafted the cocktail for Erskine Gwynne, founder of a Parisian magazine called, you guessed it, Boulevardier.
The drink fell out of favor for decades only to experience a resurgence today. It’s not as famous as its gin-based sibling, but the Boulevardier definitely deserves our renewed interest. Thirsty? Here’s how to mix one up at home.
How to Make a Boulevardier
The recipe below is from The Negroni: Drinking to La Dolce Vita.
- 1 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. Campari
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- Orange twist to garnish
Step 1: Mix and stir
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Stir gently but well.
Step 2: Strain
Strain into a rocks glass with a single large ice cube or into a chilled cocktail glass, depending on your preference. (You can use a tray like this one to make large square ice cubes.)
Step 3: Garnish and enjoy
Garnish with an orange twist. You can use a paring knife to cut a thin slice of orange peel, but home bartenders may want to invest in a channel knife like this one. Roll the cut peel into a twist, and place it on the rim of your glass.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Negroni, the Boulevardier and related cocktails, be sure to check out former bartender Gary Regan’s excellent book on the subject. While you’re at it, here are more ways to shake up the classic Negroni.
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