Boulevardier Cocktail

5 from 1 vote
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Dating back to the early 1900s, the Boulevardier is a classic French cocktail made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari. It’s essentially a whiskey spin on the Negroni but with slightly different variations as the cocktail evolved.

A ruby red Boulevardier cocktail in a double old fashioned glass with a clear giant ice cube and orange peel garnish.

The first time I sipped a Boulevardier was at the famous Château Frontenac Hotel in Québec City, Canada. This particular version was mixed with cognac in addition to bourbon, which differs from the classic recipe, but adds a nice twist! I’ve been making them ever since.

The Boulevardier is similar to the Manhattan in terms of flavor, but a little less spirit-forward and more bitter. Although it’s similar to the Negroni, it drinks quite differently and is a little richer. Also, try the classic Sazerac cocktail or a Brooklyn cocktail.

Ingredients

  • Bourbon: my evergrowing list of suggested bourbons are Buffalo Trace, Larceny, Elijah Craig, Michter’s, Henry McKenna Single Barrel, Four Roses Single Barrel, Eagle Rare, Knob Creek, and Maker’s Mark. Use whatever you like or have on hand. Rye works in a pinch.
  • Campari: a bitter Italian liqueur that adds depth and complexity. There is no real substitute available.
  • Sweet vermouth: a fortified wine, aromatized with a range of botanicals that lends a touch of richness and sweetness. I like Dolan and Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Variations

Like the Negroni, the original 1927 recipe is equal parts (1:1:1), bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Modern recipes today are 2:1:1, putting a greater emphasis on the bourbon. While I encourage you to experiment to find out what you like, I prefer the modern-day recipe so the other components do not dominate the bourbon.

Typically the Boulevardier is made only with whiskey, however, sometimes I like to do a 50-50 split of cognac and bourbon to add yet another dimension of flavor. After all, it is a French-inspired cocktail!

How to Make a Boulevardier

Step 1.

In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth (image 1a). Fill the glass halfway with ice, then stir vigorously about a dozen times (image 1b).

Pouring Campari into a glass mixing container with a double jigger.
Stirring a Boulevardier cocktail in a mixing glass with ice.

Step 2.

Strain into a chilled double old-fashioned glass over a large ice cube.

Straining a Boulevardier cocktail into a chilled glass over a giant clear ice cube.

Step 3.

Squeeze/twist the orange peel over the glass to extract the oils, rub the peel around the outer rim of the glass and serve with the cocktail.

A hand holding an orange peel over a Boulevardier cocktail, expressing the oils over the drink.

Expert Tips

  • For expressing the orange peel, point the outer peel (non-pith side) outward facing the drink and gently squeeze the edges so the oils spray out over the top of the drink. If done properly, you can see an oily film floating on the surface of your cocktail. It’s easiest done with two hands.
  • Use a Y-peeler for making citrus peels. This is the easiest way to get a thin peel with minimal pith.
  • Chill your glasses ahead of time in the freezer to keep your drinks cooler for longer. This is one of my favorite tricks in the summer.
  • Use a clear ice tray to easily make crystal clear ice at home with little effort.

More Cocktails You’ll Love

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5 from 1 vote

Boulevardier Cocktail

Servings: 1 cocktail
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
A cognac and lemon twist on the classic boulevardier cocktail made with bourbon, cognac, Campari and sweet vermouth.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 ounces Bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • 3/4 ounce Sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel twist

Instructions 

  • In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Fill the glass halfway with ice, then stir vigorously about a dozen times.
  • Strain into a chilled double old-fashioned glass over a large ice cube.
  • Squeeze/twist the orange peel over the glass to extract oils, rub the peel around the outer rim of the glass and serve.

Notes

Typically the Boulevardier is made only with whiskey, however, sometimes I like to do a 50-50 split of cognac and bourbon to add yet another dimension of flavor.
For expressing the orange peel: point the outer peel (non-pith side) outward facing the drink and gently squeeze the edges so the oils spray out over the top of the drink. If done properly, you can see an oily film floating on the surface of your cocktail. The aroma should hit your nose as you sip.
Use a Y-peeler for making citrus peels. This is the easiest way to get a thin peel with minimal pith.
Chill your glasses ahead of time in the freezer to keep your drinks cooler for longer. This is one of my favorite tricks in the summer.
Use a clear ice tray to easily make crystal clear ice at home with little effort.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 9.6gSugar: 9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: French
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!
Inspired by: Fairmont Moments

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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