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Boulevardier Cocktail – A Negroni For Bourbon Fans

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
Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Despite its similarities to the Negroni, the Boulevardier has a history that didn’t start in either Italy or the United States. Instead, the bourbon cocktail has roots in Paris, specifically atHarry’s Bar (no relation to the famous Venetian bar of the same name), and became popular 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.

Discover our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktails as well as our favorite French cocktails.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

  • Whiskey
  • Campari
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • Ice Cubes (for stirring)
  • Orange Peel (garnish)

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We like 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 this classic bourbon, other bourbon options include Bulleit, Four Roses, Knob Creek and even Jim Beam.

Discover our favorite bourbon cocktails.

Campari is a complex liqueur that derives its herbaceous tones from 50+ secret ingredients that include bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit. Beyond the Boulevardier, it’s a key ingredient in Italian cocktails like the Americano and Garibaldi.

Discover our favorite Campari cocktails.

We use Italy’s classic Martini Rosso in this recipe. Other Italian sweet vermouth producers include Carpano, Cocchi and Contratto.

Discover our favorite sweet vermouth cocktails.

How To Craft 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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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, bar spoon, strainer and mixing glass. If you don’t have a mixing glass, you can use a shaker instead.

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.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Pouring Campari for Boulevardier
We’re always careful when we pour liquor so that we don’t waste any of the precious liquid. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

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.

Pouring Bourbon for Boulevardier
Although we used a cocktail shaker to craft this Boulevardiers, we didn’t shake this bourbon drink. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You’ll want to stir the Boulevardier with a bar spoon until the liquors are combined and chilled. This step should take no longer than 30 seconds.

The last steps are to strain the drink into a coupe glass and garnish the cocktail with a simple orange twist.

Straining a Boulevardier
A strainer separates the drink from the ice. It’s how we like to craft a Boulevardier. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Boulevardier Selfie
Mindi is all smiles before tasting her Boulevardier. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Variations

Boulevardier by Cuidado Sign
Consider yourself warned. The Boulevardier is addictively tasty. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Negroni and a Boulevardier?

The Negroni cocktail is crafted with gin while the Boulevardier is crafted with bourbon.

Where was the Boulevardier invented?

The Boulevardier was invented in Paris.

What are the ingredients in a Boulevardier?

Whiskey, Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Orange Peel and Ice

What’s the best bourbon to use in a Boulevardier?

You should use your favorite bourbon in this cocktail recipe. We typically use Buffalo Trace but any bourbon will work just fine.

Is the Boulevardier shaken or stirred?

The Boulevardier is stirred, not shaken.

What type of glass is best for the Boulevardier?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a lowball glass instead.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Boulevardier with Peeled Orange
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4.76 from 25 votes

Boulevardier Recipe

Our easy Boulevardier recipe combines Bourbon, Campari and Sweet Vermouth to create a Bourbon Negroni that you'll want to sip all night long.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 254kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • orange peel (garnish)
  • ice cubes (for mixing)

Instructions

  • Pour liquids into a mixing glass or shaker.
  • Add several ice cubes and stir until liquids are mixed and chilled.
  • Strain into a coupe glass.
  • 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.

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 0.1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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About The Authors

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. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
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.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: January 29, 2021

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