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The Boulevardier, a classic cocktail reminiscent of the Negroni but featuring bourbon instead of gin, dates back to the 1920s and remains a beloved choice for aficionados of spirited drinks. To craft this cocktail, blend bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari, stirring them with ice in a mixing glass before straining into a chilled cocktail glass. Adding a twist of orange or a cherry as a garnish not only enhances the visual appeal but also contributes to its flavor profile. 

a glass of Boulevardier cocktail

The Boulevardier artfully combines the rich, robust qualities of a Manhattan with the sharp, dry, and bitter notes of Campari. The Boulevardier’s intriguing combination of flavors and its timeless appeal have made it a staple in many cocktail bars around the world. Its complex interplay of sweet, bitter, and boozy elements creates a harmonious and sophisticated drinking experience that continues to captivate cocktail enthusiasts. 


The Boulevardier cocktail has a rich history that dates back to the Prohibition era in the United States. The cocktail was invented by Erskine Gwynne, an American-born writer who founded a monthly magazine in Paris called Boulevardier, which appeared from 1927 to 1932. The cocktail was named after the magazine, which was popular among American expatriates living in Paris at the time. Gwynne was a socialite who enjoyed the nightlife of Paris and was a regular at Harry’s New York Bar, where the Boulevardier cocktail was first served. 

top view of a glass of Boulevardier cocktail

The cocktail was created by Harry MacElhone, the owner of the bar, who was known for his expertise in mixing barflies and cocktails. The Boulevardier cocktail is often described as a bourbon variation of a Negroni. It is made with equal parts bourbon whiskey, Campari, and sweet vermouth, served over ice or straight up. The drink is definitely reminiscent of a Negroni, thanks to the Campari and sweet vermouth.

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Today, the Boulevardier cocktail remains a popular choice among cocktail enthusiasts and is often featured in bars and restaurants around the world. Its rich history and unique flavor make it a classic cocktail that is sure to impress.

How to Make It

a glass of Boulevardier cocktail


Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Making a Boulevardier cocktail is a simple process that requires only a few ingredients and some basic mixing skills.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you make the perfect Boulevardier:


  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce quality sweet vermouth
  • Orange twist to garnish (optional)


  1. Fill your mixing glass with ice
  2. Using your jigger to measure your pour, add 1 ½ ounces bourbon, 1 ounce Campari, and 1 ounce sweet vermouth to the mixing glass
  3. Stir evenly for 30 seconds. Do not shake as it will cause the drink to foam
  4. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  5. Use orange twist to garnish

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If you’re a fan of the Boulevardier, you’ll be happy to know that there are many variations of this classic cocktail that you can try. Here are a few:

Rye Boulevardier

If you prefer your cocktails spicier, you can substitute the bourbon in a Boulevardier with rye whiskey. Rye whiskey has a bolder flavor than bourbon, which makes for a bolder Boulevardier. Try using a rye whiskey like Rittenhouse or Sazerac.

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Manhattan Boulevardier

If you love Manhattans, you’ll love this Boulevardier variation. Replace the sweet vermouth with Carpano Antica and add a dash of bitters to create a bittersweet, bright cocktail.

Negroni Boulevardier

For a twist on the classic Negroni, substitute the gin with bourbon or rye whiskey to create a Boulevardier variation. This cocktail is perfect for those who love the bitter taste of Campari but prefer whiskey to gin.

Dolin Boulevardier

If you prefer a lighter, sweeter cocktail, try substituting the sweet vermouth in a Boulevardier with Dolin. This French vermouth is less bitter than other vermouths and will give your cocktail a lighter, brighter flavor.

Spicy Boulevardier

For a spicy twist on the classic Boulevardier, add a dash of hot sauce or a few slices of jalapeño to your cocktail. This will give your drink a spicy kick that’s perfect for those who love bold flavors. No matter which variation you choose, the Boulevardier is a classic cocktail that’s perfect for any occasion. Try experimenting with different ingredients to create your own unique twist on this timeless drink.

What’s the difference between a Negroni and a Boulevardier?

While both cocktails share Campari as an ingredient, the Boulevardier swaps gin for whiskey. This substitution gives the Boulevardier a richer, more complex flavor profile than the Negroni.

What’s the difference between a Manhattan and a Boulevardier?

The two cocktails share many similarities, but the Boulevardier swaps out the Manhattan’s sweet vermouth for Campari, which adds a bitter, herbaceous note to the drink.

What is the difference between Old Pal and Boulevardier?

Both cocktails share whiskey as a base spirit, but the Old Pal substitutes dry vermouth for sweet vermouth and uses equal parts whiskey, Campari, and dry vermouth. This creates a drier, more astringent cocktail than the Boulevardier.

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What whiskey is best for Boulevardier?

A rye whiskey with a high rye content works well in a Boulevardier, as it adds spice and complexity to the drink. However, a bourbon or blended whiskey can also work well, depending on personal preference.

What are some variations of Boulevardier?

There are many variations of the Boulevardier, including the Mezcal Boulevardier (which substitutes mezcal for whiskey), the Boulevardier Sour (which adds lemon juice and simple syrup), and the Boulevardier Negroni (which adds gin to the mix).

How many calories are in a Boulevardier?

A typical Boulevardier contains around 200-250 calories, depending on the specific ingredients used. However, this can vary depending on the size of the drink and the specific recipe used.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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