Classic Boulevardier Cocktail with a Twist

A cognac and lemon twist on the classic boulevardier cocktail made with bourbon, cognac, Campari and sweet vermouth.

Classic Boulevardier Cocktail with a Twist

I had a must-share twist on the classic Boulevardier cocktail at the famous Château Frontenac hotel in Québec City in Canada.

Patty and I visited for a long weekend for our anniversary a few years ago. The Château Frontenac (looks like a massive stone castle) has a modern bar that is our favorite spot to grab a cocktail and apps before dinner. This particular bar overlooks the Saint Lawrence River. It’s an awesome spot with amazing views and atmosphere, with even better drinks.

Ingredients in a Classic Boulevardier

Gather ’round, I’m about to hit you with some cocktail knowledge. Dating back to the early 1900’s, the Boulevardier is a classic French cocktail consisting of bourbon whiskey, vermouth, Campari and a twist of orange peel. Very similar to the Negroni, but it’s made with whiskey instead of gin.

Typically the Boulevardier cocktail is made only with whiskey. This Boulevardier has a unique twist with the addition of cognac and a lemon peel instead of an orange peel. It’s a bit more sophisticated, fruity, and citrusy than the classic variation.

The Boulevardier is slightly similar to the manhattan in flavor, but a little smoother and more bitter. 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 (or the Boulevardier for that matter) and don’t shy away from Campari, you should try this cocktail.

How to Add a Twist of Lemon

A tip on expressing the oils from a peel: You want to 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 actually see an oily film floating on the surface of your cocktail. The aroma should hit your note as you sip.

Don’t underestimate the power of a lemon or orange peel in ANY cocktail. It’s simply not the same without it.

Classic Boulevardier Cocktail with a Twist
Classic Boulevardier Cocktail with a Twist

Boulevardier Cocktail: Original and Twist

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 1x



Classic Variation

  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Orange peel twist

Boulevardier with Twist

  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce cognac
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Lemon peel twist


  1. In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients except for the lemon/orange peel. Fill the glass halfway with ice, then stir vigorously about a dozen times.
  2. Strain into a chilled couple glass.
  3. Squeeze/twist the lemon (or orange) peel over the glass to extract oils, rub the peel around the inside rim of the glass and serve with the cocktail.

Keywords: boulevardier

Inspired by: Fairmont Moments