Current Cocktail: The Boulevardier

The Boulevardier
This is the standard, traditional method of serving a Boulevardier. The drink depicted is poured as a double.

So at the behest of my buddy and fellow author, KM Alexander, I’m going to start a new series here on this old blog. Current Cocktails (his title, credit where credit is due) is going to be a series detailing the cocktails and other imbibements that accompany me through the adventure of writing. For better or worse.

The first cocktail in this series is tied to my current WIP (Work In Progress).  All in this series will be linked to some current work. As I have discussed in a previous post, I tend to be a bit of a method writer and I’ve found that alcohol adds a pleasant aspect to experiencing the lives of the characters we write. My current novel is set in 1920’s Paris and as such, cocktails abound. Those of the American Lost Generation flocked to Paris’ booze soaked establishments to drink cheap and live large. Today’s cocktail is attributed to one such American expat, Erskine Gwynne, writer and founder of the Boulevardier, a short lived monthly magazine printed in Paris and the source of this cocktail’s name.

Also, you can be pretty sure that if I’m writing about a drink I’m also drinking that drink at the time so all the details I provide will be full on, in your face, hard hitting journalism. Or at least tipsy musings on tasty beverages. Either way. Enjoy.

The Boulevardier

This delightful concoction is basically the bastard child of the Manhattan and the Negroni. In true Manhattan fashion, either bourbon or rye whiskey will work. Also in true Manhattan fashion, traditionalists will argue ad nauseam about which is correct however, when rye is used, the drink is more often referred to as the “Old Pal” which is such a great name. As for the Negroni half of the family, Campari is the star of the show. It’s insane red color and bitter bite both shine through. Anyway, on to the recipe.

There are a lot of variations on this drink but luckily, I’m the experimental type and have settled on these ratios for your thirst quenching pleasure.

  • 1.5 parts Bourbon
  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part Sweet Vermouth (preferably Italian but whatever floats your boat or rather, makes your drink)

Place these ingredients in a large mixing glass with ice and stir then pour into a martini glass if you are feeling fancy or over ice in a collins or highball glass if you prefer doubles, like me. Garnish with a twist of lemon or orange taking care to squeeze some of the oils from the peel over the drink before placing it into the liquid. I prefer lemon. Cherries are okay but I’d personally reserve that for the Manhattan.

This drink is all about the epic battle between bitter and sweet. The Campari assaults your senses with it’s sharp herbal flavor while the bourbon tries its damnedest to mellow out the bright red beast. The vermouth refuses to choose sides adding both an herbal kick and a mellow sweetness to the mix. The overall effect is as bombastic as anything Ravel could have composed.

Once you have your drink ready, sit back, sip away, and dream of flappers, too much pomade, and a time when fun trumped everything.

The Boulevardier
This is the fancier version poured as a single in a standard martini glass.


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