How to Make a Boulevardier Cocktail

Love a good cocktail? It's time you met the Boulevardier, also known as a Negroni with bourbon.

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.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist to garnish

Instructions

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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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.