Boulevardier Cocktail

The Boulevardier

1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Sweet Vermouth

Garnish: orange coin or lemon twist

Pour ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a orange zest or lemon twist. Note if you are using an orange, avoid the fruit and minimize the amount of pith; you want the oils gently squeezed onto the drink and around the edges of the glass.

The Boulevardier is a wonderful libation that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It is a hidden gem that I hope to see enjoyed in more places. Often the ingredients are in the bar as there isn’t anything too unusual here. In fact, the Negroni (1:1:1 Gin, Campari, Italian vermouth) has gained so much traction and yet the Boulevardier precedes this drink by 20 years.

Harry MacElhone, an American expatriate in Paris, made this cocktail at the New York Bar, which then became Harry’s New York Bar, and published the recipe in his book Barflies and Cocktails in 1927.

This was the signature drink of patron, expatriate, socialite, and magazine editor, Erskinne Gwynne. Gwynne most likely was the original inventor of the drink or at the very least, was highly involved. His magazine, The Boulevardier, is also where the cocktail’s name originates.

The original published recipe calls for equal parts of the ingredients: 1/3 Campari, 1/3 Italian vermouth, 1/3 Bourbon whisky. But has since been adapted to most commonly the recipe listed above.

I personally prefer rye in place of bourbon depending on my mood. It adds more of a bite to the cocktail, however if you want a more balanced and sweeter libation I would go with the original recipe listed above. Experiment with your bourbon options, too. For instance, a Wheated Bourbon compared to a Rye Bourbon when making this cocktail will provide you with two very different experiences.

If you like more of a bitter and dry cocktail, an Old Pal is another great cocktail to consider! I think the sweetness here in the Boulevardier does well to overall round out the palate when pairing with a cigar.

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