The Boulevardier is a classic whiskey cocktail that we love year round, but happens to be particularly appropriate for the colder winter months. With just 3 ingredients, this cousin of the Negroni is easy to make and has a wonderfully complex flavor.
the Boulevardier could be your signature cocktail!
The Boulevardier is a classic whiskey cocktail created during the golden age of cocktails (the 1920s and 30s.) It’s a twist on the Negroni, which is made with equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The Boulevardier simply swaps out the gin for bourbon or rye whiskey. I used rye for a smokier, richer-tasting version. I think the combination of whiskey and bittersweet/citrus-y Campari is especially lovely in the fall and winter months, but this is a cocktail to enjoy year round!
why’s it called a Boulevardier?
The cocktail was invented by Erskine Gwynne, an American ex-pat writer who founded a monthly magazine called Boulevardier, in Paris in the 1920s.
what’s in a Boulevardier?
The Boulevardier is on the drier side of the cocktail spectrum, somewhere between a Negroni and a Manhattan. In other times we might have referred to it as masculine. Let’s just call it robust, complex, and assertive.
- Whiskey – I used Bulleit rye whiskey. Bourbon is also a common choice, which will give the drink a slightly smoother flavor.
- Campari – a bittersweet citrus-y liqueur made from grapefruit peel and other herbs and spices. You can also use Aperol, a rhubarb bitters.
- Sweet vermouth – sweetened, spiced, fortified wine. There are some very good vermouths on the market, a few of my faves are: Punt e Mes, Carpano Antica, and Cocchi Storico (all Italian.)
- Orange or lemon peel – I wouldn’t skip this, it adds a surprising amount of fresh citrus flavor and aroma to the drink!
- Ice– I like a strong drink like this one on the rocks, but you can also serve it neat if you prefer.
the magic formula
The most classic version of this drink uses all the ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio, so 1 ounce each of whiskey, Campari, and vermouth. Some (like me) may find this a little on the sweet side, however, so this version tweaks the ratio to favor the whiskey.
- 1 1/2 ounces whiskey (bourbon or rye)
- 3/4 ounces Campari
- 3/4 ounces sweet vermouth
shaken, or stirred?
No need for a fancy cocktail shaker, simply stir in the ingredients together in the glass, add your ice and citrus peel, and you’re good to go!
need a garnish?
The standard garnish for a Boulevardier is a twist of orange and/or a cocktail cherry.
the proper glass for a Boulevardier
This cocktail is served in an old fashioned glass, rocks glass, or lowball glass.
more fun recipes from the bar cart
- The Frozen Turkey Cocktail
- George Washington’s Eggnog Recipe
- Hot Buttered Apple Cider
- Gin and Jam Cocktail
- Manhattan Cocktail Ice Cream
- DIY Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
- Blood Orange Margarita
- How to Make Smoking Cocktails with Dry Ice (or not!)
The Boulevardier Cocktail
- 1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey (you can also use bourbon)
- 3/4 ounce Campari
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
- fresh orange peel, for serving (lemon is also good)
- Add the whiskey, Campari, and vermouth to a cocktail glass and stir together to combine. No need to shake this cocktail, just give it a quick stir.
- Add ice to the glass, if desired, and garnish with a fresh piece of orange peel for extra flavor and aroma.