The Boulevardier

The Boulevardier, a cocktail first printed in Harry McElhone’s 1927 bar guide Barflies and Cocktails (1), is a tasty whiskey variation on a Negroni (a funny description, since the Boulevardier’s publication predates the Negroni’s). Slightly tart with a silky dry mouth feel, this cocktail is perfect for a long conversation; be careful to sip it and not to drink too quickly, as it can (and will) sneak up on you. Enjoy tasting slightly different flavors at each sip, and we recommend using an orange slice as garnish to brighten the drink (and give you a last-sip-squeeze option to cleanse your palette before another cocktail).

FYI: according to some, using rye whiskey instead of bourbon makes this drink a “1794” (2), but we feel that, as with a Manhattan, the drink can be made to personal tastes with either bourbon or rye to lovely results (just be sure to clarify if ordering or ask if making it for a friend)!

Bourbon Boulevardier cocktail and its ingredients

Bourbon Boulevardier cocktail and its ingredients

1.0 oz Bourbon (or Rye!)
1.0 oz Campari
1.0 oz Sweet Vermouth
Garnish with lemon twist, cherry, or orange slice if desired

  • combine in an iced mixing glass
  • stir until ice cold
  • strain into cocktail coupe or martini glass

Personal favorite brands:

Makers 46 Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon, Jim Beam Black Label

Whistle Pig Rye, Templeton Rye



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2 thoughts on “The Boulevardier

  1. Doug Ford says:

    Hi, Christopher, I wonder if part of the logic behind the rye version’s name change isn’t just that the whiskies were switched, but also that the whiskey proportion doubled? The issue of drink naming is a gray area, and it’s always hard to know when you’ve strayed too far from the “original” recipe to retain the original name. We would have to ask the inventor what his thoughts were, I suppose…

    Good post.

    • That is such an intense gray area (and one that certainly doesn’t help the ordering-public at many a bar!). I try to remember all variant names of “cocktail cousins,” but I must admit that I instinctively find myself referencing the originals (aka, describing a 1794 to others as a Rye Boulevardier, double rye). I think I mainly act this way with bourbon/rye since it seems (at least in America) that they are becoming increasingly interchangeable due to personal taste or region.

      And thanks for the compliments; I just found your blog, and I’m a fan. Thanks for letting me link to you!

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