If, like many of us, you've been exploring the home drinks cabinet but ideas are running low, then Eric Twardzik is here with a recipe for the bracing Boulevardier.
By now, the simple ingredients and build ratio that constitute a Negroni have become something of a menswear catechism. With all due respect to Count Camillo Negroni, it’s time to turn our attention to something a little rarer and stranger: the Boulevardier.
This whiskey-laced offshoot owes its fanciful title to Erskine Gwynne, an American in 1920s Paris who edited a literary magazine of the same name. It rose to prominence after appearing in the landmark cocktail book Barflies and Cocktails in 1927, which prescribed equal measures of sweet vermouth, Campari and bourbon whiskey.
Unlike the recipe of the Negroni, which appears to have been handed down on stone tablets, the Boulevardier is something of a sandbox. While its original specifications endorse equal parts, the portion of whiskey is often increased: I personally advocate for two parts, to better stand up to the bittersweet liqueur. Some serve it down in a rocks glass, but I like it up in a coupe to better emphasize its slow-sipper status.
And then there’s the question of whiskey. Though open-ended, something with enough vigor to punch through the other ingredients is most rewarding. For that reason, I’m partial to a spicy American rye (the closer to 100% rye and 100 proof, the better). But if you lean towards bourbon, consider a high-rye recipe like Four Roses. Looking across the pond, a peaty Islay scotch points it in an entirely different direction that’s no less worthy of exploration.
Like the Parisian men-about-town described by the word’s other definition, the Boulevardier may be fickle and prone to fashion, but it is never boring.
30ml sweet vermouth
Add all ingredients to a stirring glass filled with ice and stir until well-chilled, about thirty seconds. Double strain into a coupe glass and serve.