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What is Boulevardier Cocktail?

What is Boulevardier cocktail

Erskine Gwynne, a young American writer, moved to Paris in 1927 to start a literary magazine. The Boulevardier was the magazine’s name. Harry’s New York Bar serves a cocktail with the same name he created (and often drank).

Essentially, a Negroni with whiskey replaced by gin, or a Manhattan with Campari in place of bitters, this signature drink was equal parts whiskey, Campari, and sweet vermouth. (While the Negroni predates the Boulevardier, it is unclear if Gwynne knew about it when he created his own.)

Diamond Cut Whiskey glass 8

Diamond Cut Whiskey Glasses

  • Set of 2, 10 Oz whiskey glasses
  • Dishwasher safe: Preferred top rack
  • Extra-net design around for stability

Prime Whiskey Glass

  • Set of 2, 10 ounce glasses
  • Dishwasher Safe
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Crystal Design Wine Glass 6

Crystal Design Wine Glass

  • Set of 2  red wine glasses, capacity: 7 oz
  • Ideal for all types of red wines,
  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Elegant and safe packaging

History of Boulevardier

One of the first to go was Harry McElhone from New York. At the Plaza Hotel in New York, Harry once ran the bar as a jolly, cigar-chomping bartender. Harry had moved to Ciro’s in London when America went dry, then to its branch in Deauville, France, and eventually to Paris with his own place, Harry’s New York Bar. At these and other American bars, he served pre-Prohibition cocktails as well as new drinks, created with European ingredients that were never available at home and mixed with continental creativity.

In Harry’s 1927 bar guide, Barflies and Cocktails, The Boulevardier appeared as an amply palatable drink of that milieu. Erskine Gwynne, author, socialite, and nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt, drank it as his signature drink. The Boulevardier, a sort of Parisian New Yorker, was Gwynne’s monthly magazine. This cocktail is adapted from the magazine’s name. It is a Negroni, but instead of gin, it uses bourbon. However, the Negroni would not appear in print for another 20 years, and Americans had never heard of Campari in 1927.

The Prohibition men of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (today’s IRS) were appalled at all the celebrations Harry and his gang were having across the pond at their expense. Even today, some of the drinks make me squirm. One of Harry’s literary collaborators, Arthur Moss, quoted an example that had pulque, tequila, brandy and marijuana in it; one teaspoon will put a tarantula to sleep for a year. Source

Recipe

Negronis are cocktails made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. This sharp and smooth cocktail is at once sharp and smooth, lean and lush, at once bitter and sweet. This is the kind of cocktail that could be enjoyed on a summer day, but is also strong enough to be enjoyed year-round.

This is not a Negroni. It is, however, the long-lost cousin of the Negroni. The Boulevardier, first published in 1927 in Barflies and Cocktails, uses the Negroni formula of gin brushed with equal measures of vermouth and Campari, but substitutes whiskey for the gin.

What about a simple substitution? Tough. Despite the bittersweet interplay between Campari and vermouth, the whiskey changes the narrative. In contrast to the Negroni, the Boulevardier is rich and intriguing. Even though the preparation is different, the results are equally stunning.

The Boulevardier is flexible, as is the Negroni. Modern palates may enjoy bumping up the whiskey to 1 1/2 ounces and reducing the other ingredients to 3/4 ounces. See which way you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce of bourbon or rye whiskey
  • Campari, 1 ounce
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • A twist of orange or a cherry can be used as a garnish

Instructions

  1. Add cracked ice to a mixing glass and add ingredients. In a chilled cocktail glass, stir ingredients for 20 seconds. Serve garnished with a cherry or orange peel.

Specialized equipment

Cocktail strainer, mixing glass

Notes

This cocktail is as flexible as the Negroni; modern palates may enjoy bumping up the whiskey to 1 1/2 ounces and reducing the other ingredients to 3/4 ounce. It depends on your personal taste.

Which Whiskey should I use?

Whiskey replaces the gin in this cocktail, bringing out the sweetness of the vermouth and Campari, which makes for a very flavorful cocktail. Bourbon or rye whiskey can be used in this cocktail.

Do you know what to use? They’re both good, so choose one! A rye whiskey adds a sharp, spicy edge to bourbon, while the former is sweeter and mellower.

The drink is fairly whiskey-forward, so you should get a high-quality whiskey, regardless of what you choose. Bulleit, Knob Creek, and Four Roses are excellent whiskeys to choose from. You can’t go wrong with Sazerac or Bulleit rye whiskeys. Those on a budget may want to consider Rittenhouse or Old Overholt.

What is the best vermouth to use?

Sweet vermouth is used in the Boulevardier. The vermouth makes a huge difference in this cocktail’s flavor, so do not skimp on it. (In fact, a less expensive whiskey might be a better choice if you’re trying to save money.) Carpano Antica is the perfect choice here, but Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is also a good option.


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