Gather ’round, I’m about to hit you with some knowledge.
Dating back to the early 1900’s, the Boulevardier is a classic cocktail consisting of whiskey, vermouth and Campari. Very similar to the Negroni, but it’s made with whiskey instead of gin. I had a delicious twist on this drink at the famous Château Frontenac hotel on a trip up to Québec City in Canada. Patty and I visited for a long weekend for our anniversary this past Summer. The Château Frontenac (looks like a castle) and is our favorite spot to grab a cocktail and apps before dinner. This particular hotel has a circular bar overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. It’s an awesome spot, with even better drinks.
Growing up, my family always vacationed in Québec City. I’m fascinated by the history, it’s impossible to get a bad meal, and the people are very friendly. The (older) historic part of the city is fortified with a massive stone wall lined with cannons that date back to the 1700’s. A lot of it has remained the same for hundred of years. It’s one of those destinations that transports you back in time, just like this cocktail.
Typically the Boulevardier is made only with whiskey. The Boulevardier VSOP comes with the addition of cognac, hence the “VSOP,” which stands for “Very Special Old Pale,” which speaks to the age of the youngest brandy within the cognac. VSOP Cognac must be aged at least 4 years. Long explanation made short, this is a Boulevardier cocktail with the addition cognac.
The Boulevardier VSOP cocktail is slightly similar to the manhattan in flavor. Campari is an Italian liquor that is red in color and bitter. It adds a similar bitter flavor that is characteristic of a manhattan made with bitters. If you like manhattans you should try this cocktail. It’s garnished with a lemon peel that adds a slightly fruity finish. Don’t under estimate the power of a lemon peel in ANY cocktail. It’s simply not the same without it. The oils from the peel add a lot more flavor and aroma than you may think. It add a very refreshing twist to an otherwise bitter cocktail.
- 1 ounce whiskey
- ½ ounce cognac (any kind will do)
- ¾ ounce Campari
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
- lemon peel garnish
- In a pint glass, combine all ingredients except for the lemon peel. Fill the glass halfway with ice, then stir vigorously about a dozen times.
- Strain into an old-fashioned glass over a giant ice cube.
- Squeeze/twist the lemon peel over the glass to extract oils, rub the peel around the inside rim of the glass and serve with the cocktail.