Boulevardier Cocktail Drink

Boulevardier

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

This Boulevardier cocktail recipe has all the ingredients you need. It’s easy to make and delivers a bold and balanced drink.

Boulevardier Recipe

Kick back with this Boulevardier recipe! Crafted with bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth, this classic cocktail is a surefire hit for any occasion.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

188 kl

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist or cherry, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirring Glass
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.
  • Add Vermouth: Measure and pour 1 oz sweet Vermouth into the stirring glass.
  • Add Campari: Add 1 oz Campari to the mix.
  • Add Bourbon: Pour 1 oz Bourbon into the stirring glass.
  • Add Ice: Fill your mixing glass three-quarters full with ice cubes.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Strain: Strain the drink into the old-fashioned glass with fresh ice.
  • Garnish: Place an orange twist or cherry into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, rye whiskey works well too. I've even used Scotch for a smokier profile.
  • Campari: If Campari's bitterness isn't your thing, Aperol is a lighter alternative. It still brings that citrusy kick but with less bitterness.
  • Sweet Vermouth: In a pinch, I've used dry vermouth. It alters the drink's character, but a small splash of simple syrup can balance it out.

Making a Pitcher of Boulevardier:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That's 8 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of Campari, and 8 oz of sweet vermouth.
  • Mix: Combine the bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth in a large pitcher. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish with an orange twist or cherry, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative. These products mimic the flavors of whiskey without the alcohol.
  • Campari Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic aperitif or make a simple syrup infused with orange peel and a touch of grapefruit juice for bitterness.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic Boulevardier.

Making it Vegan:

  • Garnish: Some cherries used for garnish might contain non-vegan dyes or preservatives. Opt for organic cherries or a lemon twist to keep it vegan.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
188
% Daily Value*
Sodium
 
3
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Potassium
 
28
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Calcium
 
2
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Boulevardier Cocktail Drink

Boulevardier Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Kick back with this Boulevardier recipe! Crafted with bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth, this classic cocktail is a surefire hit for any occasion.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 188

Ingredients
 

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist or cherry - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Old Fashioned Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirring Glass
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.
  • Add Vermouth: Measure and pour 1 oz sweet Vermouth into the stirring glass.
  • Add Campari: Add 1 oz Campari to the mix.
  • Add Bourbon: Pour 1 oz Bourbon into the stirring glass.
  • Add Ice: Fill your mixing glass three-quarters full with ice cubes.
  • Stir Gently: Use a bar spoon to stir the ingredients gently.
  • Strain: Strain the drink into the old-fashioned glass with fresh ice.
  • Garnish: Place an orange twist or cherry into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If you don't have bourbon, rye whiskey works well too. I've even used Scotch for a smokier profile.
  • Campari: If Campari's bitterness isn't your thing, Aperol is a lighter alternative. It still brings that citrusy kick but with less bitterness.
  • Sweet Vermouth: In a pinch, I've used dry vermouth. It alters the drink's character, but a small splash of simple syrup can balance it out.

Making a Pitcher of Boulevardier:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That's 8 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of Campari, and 8 oz of sweet vermouth.
  • Mix: Combine the bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth in a large pitcher. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, garnish with an orange twist or cherry, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative. These products mimic the flavors of whiskey without the alcohol.
  • Campari Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic aperitif or make a simple syrup infused with orange peel and a touch of grapefruit juice for bitterness.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic Boulevardier.

Making it Vegan:

  • Garnish: Some cherries used for garnish might contain non-vegan dyes or preservatives. Opt for organic cherries or a lemon twist to keep it vegan.

What is a Boulevardier?

Boulevardier is a cocktail that combines bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth. It’s often considered the bourbon cousin of the Negroni, offering a balanced yet bold flavor profile. The name “Boulevardier” evokes its origin in high society, but you don’t need to be a cocktail connoisseur to appreciate its refined taste. The drink is recognized by the International Bartender Association(IBA) that list the drink under “The Unforgettables” category.

A side shot of a Boulevardier cocktail in an old fashioned glass with an orange twist and plant leaves on the side on a brown wooden table, some oranges behind and a yellow wall as background.

What is a Boulevardier made of – The ingredients

To start mixing your own Boulevardier, bring these ingredients:

  • Bourbon: Provides the strong, woody base that anchors the cocktail.
  • Campari: Adds a bitter edge, balancing the sweetness of other ingredients.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Rounds out the flavors with herbal and sweet notes.
  • Ice Cubes: Chill the drink, making it refreshing.
  • Orange twist or cherry (optional): Serves as a garnish, adding a final touch of citrus or sweetness.

Sweet vermouth, Campari and bourbon laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Boulevardier?

Use our simple guide to make your perfect Boulevardier:

1
<p>Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.</p>

Fill your Old Fashioned glass with ice cubes to chill.

2
<p>Add 1 oz of sweet vermouth to the mix, it will round out the flavors.</p>

Add 1 oz of sweet vermouth to the mix, it will round out the flavors.

3
<p>Measure and pour 1 oz of Campari into the glass to introduce a bitter counterpoint.</p>

Measure and pour 1 oz of Campari into the glass to introduce a bitter counterpoint.

4
<p>Pour 1 oz of bourbon into the stirring glass.</p>

Pour 1 oz of bourbon into the stirring glass.

5
<p>Add ice cubes and stir the ingredients gently using a bar spoon, ensuring they blend well.</p>

Add ice cubes and stir the ingredients gently using a bar spoon, ensuring they blend well.

6
<p>Strain the drink into the old-fashioned glass with fresh ice.</p>

Strain the drink into the old-fashioned glass with fresh ice.

7
<p>Twist an orange peel over the glass, to extract the juice from the peel.</p>

Twist an orange peel over the glass, to extract the juice from the peel.

8
<p>Rub the peel of the orange over the rim of the glass.</p>

Rub the peel of the orange over the rim of the glass.

9
<p>Place the orange twist into the glass as a garnish, adding that final touch.</p>

Place the orange twist into the glass as a garnish, adding that final touch.

10
<p>Enjoy your Boulevardier cocktail!</p>

Enjoy your Boulevardier cocktail!

Boulevardier vs. Negroni and Old Fashioned

Boulevardier blends bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth, offering a balanced yet bold flavor profile. It’s often considered the bourbon cousin of the Negroni, as both share Campari and sweet vermouth as ingredients. The key difference lies in the base spirit: the Boulevardier uses bourbon, while the Negroni opts for gin. The Negroni, on the other hand, combines gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. The gin introduces a botanical complexity, making the Negroni a more herbal and slightly lighter drink than the Boulevardier. 

The Old Fashioned takes a different route altogether. It features bourbon or rye whiskey, simple syrup, and bitters. Unlike the Boulevardier and Negroni, it contains no aperitifs like Campari or vermouth. It’s a simpler drink in terms of ingredients but offers a rich, satisfying taste.

How do you pronounce Boulevardier?

It’s a French word so it might look intimidating, but it’s simpler than you think. Pronounce it as “boo-leh-var-dee-eh.” The first syllable is “boo,” like a ghost might say. The second part, “leh,” is quick and straightforward. “Var” sounds like “car” but with a ‘v.’ Finally, “dee-eh” rounds it out.

A side shot of a Boulevardier cocktail in an old fashioned glass with an orange twist on the side on a brown wooden table, some oranges behind and a yellow wall as background.

Boulevardier Variations

Want to expand your Boulevardier game? We recommend one of these variations:

  • Rye Boulevardier: A spicier, more robust flavor emerges by blending rye whiskey with traditional ingredients. The peppery notes of the rye whiskey create a bolder, more assertive taste, which I find particularly appealing for its warmth and depth.
  • Scotch Boulevardier: Scotch takes the stage, replacing the usual base spirit, and adds a smoky, peaty element. This smokiness complements the bitter and sweet components, offering a unique, complex experience. The peaty character of the scotch makes this one stand out for me, as it adds an intriguing layer of flavor.
  • Aperol Boulevardier: Lighter, slightly bitter, and citrusy, Aperol brightens the overall flavor. This choice makes the drink more refreshing and approachable, especially for those who prefer a less intense bitterness.
  • Mezcal Boulevardier: Mezcal introduces a smoky, earthy quality. The smokiness, coupled with mezcal’s distinctive agave flavor, creates a rustic and intriguing twist. The earthy tones of mezcal in this concoction are a highlight for me, offering a unique and memorable sipping experience.
  • Cognac Boulevardier: Cognac’s inclusion brings a rich, fruity, and slightly sweet character. This transforms the drink into a more luxurious, velvety experience, where the cognac’s elegance shines through.
  • Grapefruit Twist Boulevardier: A hint of grapefruit, either as a garnish or a juice component, adds a fresh, tangy, and slightly bitter citrus note. The grapefruit’s zesty flavor complements the bitterness and adds a refreshing twist.
  • Barrel-Aged Boulevardier: The aging process in a barrel allows the ingredients to meld and develop over time, resulting in a smoother, more rounded profile. Subtle wood and vanilla notes enhance the complexity due to the aging.
  • Coffee Boulevardier: A rich, robust, and slightly bitter coffee flavor comes into play, complementing the herbal and sweet notes. The addition of coffee appeals to me greatly, as it brings a comforting and familiar flavor that pairs wonderfully with the other ingredients.

A Boulevardier cocktail, shot from above, in an old fashioned glass surrounded by oranges, a jigger and an orange twist, on a dark wooden table.

History and origin of the Boulevardier

The Boulevardier cocktail traces its roots back to the 1920s Parisian social scene. Erskine Gwynne, an American expatriate and the editor of a magazine called “Boulevardier,” is credited with creating this classic drink. Gwynne was a nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt and moved to Paris to immerse himself in the city’s vibrant culture. He frequented Harry’s New York Bar, a popular spot among American expatriates, where he collaborated with bartender Harry MacElhone to concoct the Boulevardier.

The drink quickly gained popularity among the high-society circles of Paris and later returned to the United States. It’s often considered the bourbon cousin of the Negroni, as both cocktails share two of the same ingredients: Campari and sweet vermouth. The substitution of bourbon for gin gives the Boulevardier its distinct, robust flavor, setting it apart as a classic in its own right.

A side shot of a Boulevardier cocktail in an old fashioned glass surrounded by an orange twist, oranges and a jigger, on a brown wooden table and a yellow wall as background.

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Boulevardier?
A standard Boulevardier contains approximately 180-200 calories, depending on the specific brands of alcohol used.
How strong is a Boulevardier in terms of ABV and proof?
The Boulevardier typically has an ABV of around 30-35%, translating to 60-70 proof, depending on the spirits used.
What type of alcohol is used in a Boulevardier?
The primary alcohol in a Boulevardier is bourbon, although it also contains Campari and sweet vermouth.
In which glass is a Boulevardier usually served?
A Boulevardier is traditionally served in an Old Fashioned glass.
What does a Boulevardier taste like?
A Boulevardier offers a balanced yet bold flavor profile, combining the woody notes of bourbon with the bitterness of Campari and the herbal sweetness of vermouth.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Boulevardier?
The Boulevardier follows a 1:1:1 ratio of bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth.
How is a Boulevardier served in terms of ice and presentation?
The Boulevardier is usually served over ice in an Old Fashioned glass, often garnished with a lemon twist or cherry.

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