Recipe: Boulevardier

Boulevardier

Boulevardier: If this photo of the Boulevardier looks familiar, that’s because it should: The Boulevardier is, in essence, a Negroni, with rye whiskey or bourbon instead of gin. The two other ingredients, Campari and sweet vermouth remain unchanged. Different recipes up the amount of whiskey from the 1-oz-of-everything proportions to 1 1/4 or even 1 1/2 oz, but this depends on the strength of the whiskey and your choice of vermouth. (As with a Negroni, we recommend using one of our top sweet vermouth picks.)

It’s a recipe that benefits from tinkering and finding the point where everything works perfectly with your taste. Fortunately, that’s not hard because it’s a drink that is extremely simple to make.

The drink has been around for about as long as the Negroni, though it reportedly came up in Paris, not Italy. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I pay it no mind. I do, however, tend to prefer rye in this drink — especially my go-to cocktail rye, the 100 proof Rittenhouse. This boldly spicy operator pairs beautifully with high-end sweet vermouth. And while it’s generally considered a more winter-friendly cocktail, I find I sip most of my Boulevardiers in warmer months. That said, you really can’t go wrong with one any time of year.

Boulevardier
1 1/4 oz bonded rye (such as Rittenhouse)
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari

There are many variations of the Boulevardier. One of the most famous is Manhattan. Manhattan bartenders will use straight rye whiskey or sweet vermouth for the base. Campari or Cava are shaken at the base will give the drink an aged flavor. You can also substitute the sweeter vermouth for brandy.

Many bartenders serve the Manhattan with some maraschino cherries and lemon wedges. You can also substitute the lemon for the simple syrup that goes into the Manhattan. Most bartenders will serve the Manhattan with a side slice of dark chocolate cake or even an orange. For a variation on the Manhattan, try the Manhattan negroni, which uses a pink negroni glass. This glass has pink seceding over the white foundation of the Manhattan and gives it a pink tint. 

The Boulevardier truly embodies the essence of Manhattan. If you are looking for an easy drink that pairs well with almost any food, the Boulevardier is perfect. The Manhattan is the ideal companion if you have a sweet tooth; the sweet vermouth and the whiskey will give you a satisfying combination. 

While the Boulevardier might be the king of the Martini, the simple fact is that the bartenders in Brooklyn know how to make the drinks come together. It would help if you spent some time in Brooklyn, drinking and trying various cocktails. The bartender knows how to make the Boulevardiers come together perfectly. So if you get a chance, don’t hesitate. Head to your favorite cocktail bar in Brooklyn and order the Boulevardier!