The Boulevardier is a drink that has seen a recent surge in popularity thanks to a growing interest among bar patrons in classic cocktails. Closely related to the more oft consumed Negroni, this drink got its start in Paris in the 1920s and was aptly named for the “men about town” who toasted with them.
The history of early cocktails such as these can be murky, but in this case, the Negroni was around for nearly ten years before its cousin arrived on the scene.
Drinks are often loosely related to each other for a variety of reasons. Sometimes a new cocktail is created because a bartender wanted to jazz up a classic; others are born after a tweak that a bartender made on something familiar, to satisfy the specific tastes of a guest. Just as the Boulevardier was inspired by the Negroni, the Negroni, in turn is a spruced-up Americano.
As the story goes, a man named Count Camillo Negroni came up with the idea for his namesake when he requested an Americano at a café in Florence, with gin in place of the soda water. According to the anecdote, he had acquired a taste for a more substantial pour during his time in the American Wild West working as a rodeo clown and needed more of a kick than plain old soda water could offer.
Picking Your Poison
This cocktail is a happy combination of whiskey, Campari, and sweet vermouth. While it can be tempting to scrimp on quality to save money, don’t take this route when trying this recipe. Each ingredient has an equally important role in the outcome of the drink, and a higher quality sweet vermouth will have you calling for another round. Carpano Antica is as good as it gets; smooth, rich, and flavorful, and it’s guaranteed to transform your drink into something divine.
To make one of these libations at home you will need to gather a few things to start.
- 1.5 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce quality sweet vermouth
- Orange twist to garnish (optional)
When cocktail hour finally arrives, chill your drink glasses before you begin building your drink. Use the following steps to work your magic and get ready to imbibe.
- Fill your mixing glass with ice
- Using your jigger to measure your pour, add 1 ½ ounces bourbon, 1 ounce Campari, and 1 ounce sweet vermouth to the mixing glass
- Stir evenly for 30 seconds. Do not shake as it will cause the drink to foam
- Strain into chilled cocktail glass
- Use orange twist to garnish
This can be served on the rocks if you prefer. Just be sure to strain your concoction over fresh cubes if you are going to enjoy it on ice, and get ready for the perfect combination of bitter, sweet, and smooth, with a subtle kick of spirits. If you like it, you have socialite Erskine Gwynne to thank. He introduced the idea to legendary bartender Harry MacElhone, who kept the drink alive by publishing it in his bar book ABCs of Mixing Cocktails.