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BoulevardierIt’s yet again been a little while since the last blog post.  In this case, there is a better reason than usual; B & I bought a house and moved.  After a frenetic few weeks, we are again feeling settled and so the urge to drink and write about it has returned (the former never left) and we now get to look for new places to photograph the drinks.

We decide to go with a cocktail we had rediscovered recently, The Boulevardier.  We had originally run across it in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and the was reminded of it again when he ran an article on it in Imbibe Magazine.

Prohibition era cocktails come basically in two varieties, cocktails from this country designed to cleverly cover up the illegal and gut-rotting gin available here and cocktails from Europe, invented by clever expat bartenders using European ingredients that were previously unheard of back in the States.  The Boulevardier is from the second group.  Originally published in Harry McElhone’s 1927 Barflies and Cocktails, it was the signature drink of Erskine Gwynne, write, fellow expatriate and nephew of Alfred Vanderbilt.  Gwynne published a monthly magazine for expats called The Paris Boulevardier, the likely source of the drink’s name.

The Boulevardier

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (I use Cinzano, Dr. Cocktail recommends Carpano Antica)

Combine ingredients and stir with ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a twist of lemon (apparently a cherry or orange slice would also be acceptable).

This is clearly a Negroni, which we covered earlier this year, but with bourbon instead of gin.  Normally we aren’t fond of cocktails made with bourbon–the bourbon is too sweet and smooth for a cocktail (preferring rye to bourbon).  In this case, however, the bourbon compliments the bitter herbal qualities of both the Campari and vermouth.   While we really like the Negroni, both B and I prefer the Boulevardier.  Somehow the bourbon smooths out a little of the harshness you get with the gin and adds a bit of body to the drink.  The Boulevardier could definitely be a contender for out top ten cocktails of all time.


2 thoughts on “Boulevardier”

    1. I use an old Kentucky hidden gem (and the go to bourbon of my father-in-law), Old Crow. I have some others (Russell’s Reverve, Four Roses, etc. when I want to drink it straight, but for cocktails, it’s Old Crow.

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