Recipes

Boulevardier

A whiskey version of the Negroni and makes for an equally delicious Aperitivo.

Equal parts whisky, vermouth and bitters, the Boulevardier is often overlooked by those whose love of the Negroni centres around the gin.

For those in the know, however, the cocktail offers up the perfect alternative when you are looking for something with a bit more depth and weight.

Familiar yet unique, boozy yet accessible, the simplicity and irresistible flavours of The Boulevardier have made it a classic cocktail that all should have in their repertoir.

1 serving
  • 25 ml Whiskey
  • 25 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 25 ml Campari
  1. Add all three ingredients into a glass with ice and stir to mix and chill the liquid.
  2. Garnish with an orange peel.

TOP TIP:

Just like which gin and which vermouth you choose makes a difference to the Negroni, the same is true to the choice of whiskey and vermouth when it comes to the Boulevardier. 

The texture and mouthfeel in particular are very noticeable differences when you swap whiskey brands. If you are picking a heavy vermouth like Antica Formula or something on the bitter end of the spectrum like Punt E Mes, pick a whiskey to suit. Perhaps a Bourbon with swathes of sweet vanillin from the oak, or a cask strength offering to cut through the mix. 

Similarly, a lighter fruity vermouth may suit new world whiskies instead of American Bourbon or Rye.

Boulevardier Cocktail (Whisky Negroni)
Boulevardier Cocktail (Whisky Negroni)

AN ABRIDGED, INEBRIATED HISTORY:

First appearing in print in the 1920’s, The Boulevardier is a cocktail that was made for Erskine Gwynne by Harry McElhone at Harry's New York Bar in Paris. The drink even appeared in Harry’s famed 1927 bar guide, Barflies and Cocktails. 

The drink wasn’t just named after the expansive Parisian avenues and boulevards though, it was named after a magazine and made very specifically for its founder Erskine Gwynne. Gwynne was an American-born writer (and nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbilt) who expatriated to Paris where he founded a literary magazine called Boulevardier. 

In the book Barflies and Cocktails, MacElhone even credited Gwynne with inventing the cocktail and wrote: "Now is the time for all good Barflies to come to the aid of the party, since Erskine Gwynne crashed in with his Boulevardier Cocktail: 1/3 Campari, 1/3 Italian vermouth, 1/3 Bourbon whisky."

The most frequently asked question is given this is a Negroni made with whisk(e)y is which came first? Our opinion is that they are not connected in a linear way. The story (or multiple stories) of the Negroni show that it likely evolved from the Americano or the Milano Torino. The Negroni only starts appearing in print some 20 years later too, meaning that if anything, the Boulevardier was the precursor. 

Despite the similarity and despite a desire to draw a connection that bridges two iconic cocktails, it seems most likely that both were created by bartenders who just so happened to discover the delights of bitters, vermouth and spirit on their own ways… 

Spirits Kiosk
Campari Italian Bitter Liqueur
Campari Italian Bitter Liqueur
70cl25%IT
£16.74
Maker's Mark Bourbon
Maker's Mark Bourbon
70cl45%US
£26.44
Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth
Antica Formula Carpano Vermouth
100cl16.5%IT
£29.94