Crafting a Timeless Boulevardier Cocktail for Every Occasion

The boulevardier is like the sophisticated cousin of the Negroni, but with whiskey. It’s rich, it’s bold, and every sip of a boulevardier takes you on a flavorful journey. Let’s delve into what makes this cocktail a classic!

A Boulevardier is a classic cocktail made with whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari. It is a close cousin of the Negroni, substituting whiskey/bourbon for gin. The drink is typically served straight up in a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with an orange peel.

Brief history of the cocktail

The Boulevardier was invented in Paris during the 1920s by American writer Erskine Gwynne. Gwynne, who had moved to Paris from New York City, started his own magazine called “The Boulevardier,” which was dedicated to covering Parisian lifestyle and culture. The drink was originally made with equal parts whiskey/bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

The drink became popular among expatriates living in Paris during the time period known as the “Lost Generation.” This group included writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who frequented bars like Harry’s New York Bar, where the drink was often served. From there it spread throughout Europe and eventually made its way back to the United States.

Importance of knowing how to make a Boulevardier

Knowing how to make a classic cocktail like the Boulevardier is an important skill for any home bartender or aspiring mixologist. Not only is it impressive when you can whip up a sophisticated cocktail at home for guests or friends but also it allows you to experiment with different variations according to your taste palate. Boulevardiers are currently experiencing resurgence in popularity among modern drinkers due to their simple yet complex flavor profile that appeals today’s more sophisticated drinkers seeking strong flavors without added sugars.


Before creating a Boulevardier, it’s crucial to have the right ingredients on hand. Here are the specific components needed:

Whiskey or Bourbon

The whiskey component of a Boulevardier is essential and provides the drink with its robust, smooth flavor. Rye whiskey is often used and provides a spicy kick to balance out the sweetness of the vermouth.

However, bourbon can also be used for a more mellow flavor profile. It’s important to note that higher quality spirits will make for a better tasting cocktail.

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth is another essential ingredient in this classic cocktail. It adds depth and richness to the drink’s flavor profile. Sweet vermouth is made from white wine infused with various herbs and spices, giving it a sweet and slightly bitter taste.


Campari adds complexity to the Boulevardier recipe by contributing its signature bitter taste with hints of fruitiness and herbal notes. This Italian liqueur was first created in 1860 by Gaspare Campari, who used his secret recipe of herbs, spices, fruits, barks, and roots that became known as Campari’s unique flavor.

Orange Peel for Garnish

An orange peel garnish adds an unbeatable aroma that elevates the Boulevardier experience even further. Not only does it look beautiful but also contributes an additional layer of flavor profile through citrus notes that cut through some of the bitterness from Campari. Overall, understanding each ingredient’s role in making this cocktail is critical before perfecting your own personal recipe or adding your twists on classic recipes.

Equipment Needed

Before embarking on making a Boulevardier, it is important to have all the necessary equipment close at hand. The right tools are just as important as the ingredients when it comes to crafting a perfect cocktail, so let’s take a look at what you’ll need:

Mixing Glass

A mixing glass is essentially a large glass container used for mixing cocktails. It is designed to hold more than enough ice and liquid for a single drink, and has plenty of room to allow for thorough stirring or shaking.

When selecting a mixing glass, look for one that is heavy-bottomed and made from high-quality materials such as crystal or tempered glass. A good mixing glass should also be large enough to comfortably hold 2-4 drinks, depending on your recipe.

Bar Spoon

A bar spoon is an essential tool in any mixologist’s arsenal. It serves multiple purposes – from measuring ingredients and stirring drinks to layering cocktails and even muddling herbs or fruit.

The ideal bar spoon has a long handle with twisted shaft that allows you to easily spin or stir your ingredients without creating too much turbulence in the mixture. Look for spoons that are dishwasher safe, made from stainless steel or gold-plated materials, and have a comfortable grip.

Jigger or Measuring Cup

A jigger (or measuring cup) is used to accurately measure out small amounts of liquids. While some cocktail recipes can be prepared by eye-balling the measurements, precise ratios are essential in keeping your Boulevardier tasting balanced and delicious.

When selecting a jigger or measuring cup, it’s best to opt for one with clear markings that reads both ounces and milliliters since different recipes call for different measurements. A double-sided jigger is particularly useful as it allows you to measure out different amounts without needing to switch between cups.


A strainer is used to separate solids from liquids, ensuring that your cocktail is smooth and free of any unwanted bits. The most commonly used strainer in cocktail making is the Hawthorne strainer, which fits over the top of your mixing glass and uses a spring coil to filter out any ice or other large particles.

A fine mesh strainer, which can be used in addition to a Hawthorne for an extra-fine strain, may also come in handy when working with particularly delicate ingredients or when aiming for an ultra-smooth texture. Now that you have everything you need let’s move on to the next step – making the perfect Boulevardier!

Steps to make a Boulevardier

Step 1: Fill mixing glass with ice cubes.

The first step in making a perfect Boulevardier is to fill your mixing glass with ice cubes. The ice will help to chill the cocktail and also provide some dilution, which is essential for achieving the right balance of flavors. You want to use enough ice so that it reaches the top of the mixing glass, but not so much that it overflows when you start stirring.

Step 2: Add two parts whiskey/bourbon, one part sweet vermouth, and one part Campari into the mixing glass.

Once you have filled your mixing glass with ice cubes, it’s time to add in the ingredients for your Boulevardier. The classic recipe calls for two parts whiskey or bourbon, one part sweet vermouth, and one part Campari.

Make sure you measure out each ingredient carefully using a jigger or measuring cup. Using different types of whiskey or vermouth can change the taste profile of this cocktail substantially.

Step 3: Stir all ingredients together using a bar spoon for about 30 seconds until well mixed and chilled.

Next, take your bar spoon and start stirring all of the ingredients together in a circular motion. You want to stir vigorously enough to mix everything together well but not so hard that you pulverize all the ice cubes into slush. Stirring for about 30 seconds should be enough time to get everything mixed together evenly and chill down your drink properly.

Step 4: Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.

Once you are satisfied that your cocktail is well mixed and chilled down properly, grab your strainer and pour out your mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. A double rocks glass can be used if no other option is available but serving it in a stemmed glass adds an air of sophistication to your drink. You may need to use the back of your bar spoon to strain out any small ice chips or other debris that might have made it through the strainer.

Step 5: Garnish with an orange peel.

It’s time to add the finishing touch and garnish your Boulevardier with an orange peel. Take your vegetable peeler and slice off a thin strip of orange peel, being careful not to get too much pith (the white part) as this can make your drink bitter.

Twist the orange peel over the top of the cocktail so that its oils release into it, then place it on the rim of your glass for decoration and aroma. Enjoy!


Recap of the Importance of Knowing How to Make a Boulevardier

Knowing how to make a Boulevardier is an important skill for any aspiring mixologist or cocktail enthusiast. This classic cocktail has stood the test of time and remains a popular choice among cocktail lovers around the world. Not only does it provide a unique flavor profile, but it’s also simple to make and can be easily customized to suit individual preferences.

In addition, understanding how to make a Boulevardier opens up the opportunity to experiment with other classic cocktails that share similar ingredients. For example, by substituting gin for whiskey in this recipe, one can create a Negroni – another beloved classic that has been enjoyed since its creation in 1919.

Encouragement to Try Making This Classic Cocktail at Home

While many people enjoy ordering cocktails at bars and restaurants, there’s something special about making your own drinks at home. Not only is it more cost-effective in the long run, but it also allows for more experimentation and customization. Making a Boulevardier at home is easier than you might think.

With just a few simple ingredients and some basic equipment, anyone can create this timeless drink in the comfort of their own home. Plus, impressing guests with your newfound mixology skills is always a fun bonus.

Suggestion to Experiment with Different Types of Whiskey/Bourbon and Vermouth to Find Your Perfect Blend

Part of what makes learning how to make cocktails so enjoyable is experimenting with different combinations of ingredients until you find your perfect blend. When making a Boulevardier, try using different types of whiskey or bourbon for varying levels of smokiness or sweetness.

Additionally, trying different brands or types of vermouth can result in unique flavor profiles that cater specifically to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer sweet vermouths such as Carpano Antica Formula or bitter vermouths like Punt e Mes, the possibilities are endless.

So go ahead and experiment with different combinations until you find your perfect blend. Who knows, you may even discover a new favorite cocktail along the way.

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