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Boulevardier Cocktail – A Negroni for Bourbon Fans

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A Boulevardier cocktail is a Negroni crafted with bourbon instead of gin. Follow our easy recipe and craft a Boulevardier at home in just five minutes.

Boulevardier with Peeled Orange

Bourbon cocktails speak to us lately. Perhaps it’s the nasty state of world events or the dreary, grey time of year. Maybe we just really like the taste of barrel-aged bourbon.

Our latest bourbon cocktail favorite is the Boulevardier, a drink made with just four ingredients plus ice. Fitting into our lazy mixology sweet spot, this drink is easy to craft in just a few minutes without any exotic ingredients or special bar tools.

What Is a Boulevardier Cocktail?

Boulevardier on Lisbon Street
The Boulevardier cocktail is a potent potable suitable for people who like both whiskey and Campari.

In simple terms, a Boulevardier cocktail is a Negroni crafted with whiskey instead of gin. In reality, this classic cocktail is so much more.

A grown up Negroni. That was Daryl’s initial and somewhat ironic reaction when he sipped his first Boulevardier cocktail. After all, there’s nothing immature about Italy’s Negroni. Maybe he should call it a Negroni with a doctorate degree.

Mndi Savors a Boulevardier
This is what Mindi looks like when she’s hypnotized by tasty tipples.

But, yet somehow, replacing gin with bourbon makes the Boulevardier more sophisticated than its herbaceous cocktail cousin from across the pond. Bourbon flavors like vanilla and caramel combine with Campari’s fruity bitterness to create a drink that’s both complex and highly sippable.

History of the Boulevardier

Boulevardier on Lisbon Street with Tram
We took our Boulevardier to the streets in Lisbon. Don’t worry, it didn’t get run over by the 28 tram.

Despite its similarities to the Negroni, the Boulevardier has a history that didn’t start in either Italy. Instead, the bourbon cocktail has roots in Paris, specifically at Harry’s Bar (no relation to the famous Venetian bar of the same name), during the roaring 1920s.

Cocktail lore has it that bartender/owner Harry MacElhone collaborated with customer Erskine Gwynne to create the Boulevardier. And the name? Gwynne published a magazine called Boulevardier at that time, a moniker that served a double purpose until the magazine ceased publication in 1932.

Meanwhile, the classic cocktail version is suddenly and slowly approaching its centennial birthday. As bourbon fans like us continue to discover the Boulevardier, it’s not going away any time soon.

Boulevardier Ingredients

Boulevardier Ingredients and Barware
You can count the Boulevardier’s ingredients on one hand. They include bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth, orange peel and ice.

With just four ingredients plus ice, the Boulevardier ingredient list is both short and sweet. As a bonus, these five items are all staples in most home bars around the world.

Don’t be misled by its colorful hue. The Boulevardier cocktail is a serious drink with three different liquors in its recipe. Similar to a Negroni, the first two liquors are bitter Campari and sweet vermouth. The third liquor is whiskey.

Boulevardier Liquor Bottles
Our Boulevardier cocktail recipe includes three liquors – Campari, bourbon and sweet vermouth.

We use Buffalo Trace, a solid, mid-price Kentucky bourbon in our recipe, so the end result is a Bourbon Boulevardier. If you don’t have access to our favorite bourbon, other options include Bulleit, Four Roses, Knob Creek and even Jim Beam.

Beyond these liquors, the only other Boulevardier ingredients are orange peel and ice.

How To Make a Boulevardier Cocktail

Boulevardier Ingredients from Above
We like to get organized before we craft cocktails like the Boulevardier. This preliminary step saves us time and creates a clean station for crafting cocktails for our guests.

Crafting a Bourbon Boulevardier with our recipe is both quick and easy. You probably already have all the ingredients and necessary bar tools – a jigger, spoon, strainer and mixing glass. If you’re lazy like us, you can use a shaker instead of a mixing glass.

→ Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Pouring Campari for Boulevardier
We’re always careful when we pour liquor so that we don’t waste any of the precious liquid.

The first step of the recipe is to measure and pour the the three liquors into the mixing glass or shaker. This step is literally the most difficult part of the recipe since you don’t want to spill any of the ingredients.

While many Boulevardier drink recipes contemplate equal parts of each liquor in a 1:1:1 ratio, our recipe includes two ounces of bourbon in a 2:1:1 ratio. This higher concentration of bourbon gives our Bourbon Boulevardier richness with less acidity.

→ Click here to upgrade your barware with Amazon.

Pouring Bourbon for Boulevardier
Although we used a cocktail shaker to craft this Boulevardiers, we didn’t shake this bourbon drink.

The next step is to fill a mixing glass or shaker with ice and stir. The Boulevardier is a stirred drink and should not be shaken.

You’ll want to stir the Boulevardier until the liquor are combined and chilled. This step should take no longer than 30 seconds.

Straining a Boulevardier
A strainer separates the drink from the ice. It’s how we like to craft a Boulevardier.

The last steps are to strain the drink into a coupe glass and garnish it with a simple orange twist. We like using a coupe glass for this cocktail since it looks elegant and is more conducive for sipping. However, you can alternatively serve the Boulevardier on the rocks in a lowball glass.

→ Click here to buy two Riedel coupe glasses on Amazon.

Boulvardier Variations

Boulevardier by Cuidado Sign
Consider yourself warned. The Boulevardier is addictively tasty.

While we love the the combination of bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth and an orange twist, you may want to tweak the recipe to your personal palette. If this is the case, we recommend starting with the following variations:

  • Replace the bourbon with rye whiskey to craft a spicier Boulevardier.
  • Go one step further by replacing the bourbon with rye and the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth to craft an Old Pal.
  • Replace the bourbon with club soda to craft an Americano.
  • Replace the bourbon with gin to craft a Negroni.
  • Garnish the drink with maraschino cherries instead of an orange twist. Luxardo cherries from Italy are our favorites.

→ Click here to order a jar of Luxardo maraschino cherries from Amazon if you don’t have a jar in your pantry.

Boulevardier Recipe with Bourbon

Boulevardier Selfie
Mindi is all smiles before tasting her Boulevardier.

There’s no going back. Once you craft a Bourbon Boulevardier at home, you may never make another Negroni. The only way to find out if you’ll feel this way is to make one yourself.

Boulevardier from Above

Boulevardier

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

Our easy Boulevardier recipe combines Bourbon, Campari and Sweet Vermouth to create a Bourbon Negroni that you'll want to sip all night long.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ice cubes
  • orange peel

Instructions

    1. Pour liquids into a mixing glass or shaker.
    2. Add several ice cubes and stir until liquids are mixed and chilled.
    3. Strain into a coupe glass.
    4. Add orange peel as garnish.

Notes

  • You can garnish this cocktail with a maraschino cherry instead of orange peel.
  • You can serve the Boulevardier in a lowball glass with ice cubes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 0g

Nutrition Disclosure: We used an online calculator to calculate this information. Though 2foodtrippers.com has attempted to secure accurate data, these nutritional figures are estimates.

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About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Disclosure

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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