This Boulevardier cocktail recipe is quick and easy to make with Campari, bourbon and sweet vermouth.
It’s been the winter of the Boulevardier here in our house. ♡
As big Campari fans, Barclay and I have long enjoyed using the bitter Italian liqueur to make a round of negronis or spritzes or safecrackers at the end of the day. But over the past few months, we’ve found ourselves swapping out gin for bourbon in our negronis — officially turning them into Boulevardiers instead — and have been reminded how much we both love that rich balance of bitter, sweet, oaky, caramel-y flavors. It’s the perfect sipper to warm you up in the wintertime, and that vibrant red with a twist of orange is as gorgeous as always.
The great thing about Boulevardier cocktails is that they are also incredibly quick and easy to mix up in just a few minutes, making them great for busy evenings or a great option for easy entertaining. And while we’re partial to making Boulevardiers with bourbon in our house — and actually prefer to add a bit of extra bourbon to the usual 1:1:1 ingredient ratio to really let those caramel notes shine — you’re totally welcome to opt for spicier rye whiskey instead if you prefer.
So grab a bottle of Campari and let’s make a round together, friends!
Here are a few quick notes about the ingredients you will need to make a Boulevardier cocktail:
Bourbon: We love the sweet notes of caramel, oak and vanilla that a good bourbon brings to this cocktail. But it would also be delicious made with your favorite rye whiskey.
Campari: The famously bittersweet, vibrant Italian aperitif adds a bold splash of bitter orange, herbs and spices to this cocktail.
Sweet vermouth: The pairing of sweet vermouth with Campari is one of my all-time favorites, and a good herbal vermouth balances out this cocktail perfectly.
Orange twist: Just grab a vegetable peeler (I prefer a Y-peeler) to peel a 1-inch-wide strip of orange to make an orange twist.
Ice: I recommend a larger ice cube (either a large square cube or sphere) for this cocktail, so that the ice will melt slowly and not dilute the drink too quickly. But any ice that you have on hand will totally work.
How do you pronounce “Boulevardier”? The proper French pronunciation sounds like boo-luh-vahr-dee-eh. (Take a listen!)
What does “Boulevardier” mean? Quite literally, the term translates in French to mean “a frequenter of boulevards.” Or more broadly, “a man about town.”
What is the history of the Boulevardier? “Dating back to 1927, the Boulevardier is credited to Harry McElhone, the founder, and proprietor of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. As one of many bartenders whose careers were cut short by Prohibition, McElhone escaped the U.S. to settle in Europe. There he combined U.S. cocktailing techniques with spirits, such as Campari, that you’d never come across in the States back then.” (Chilled)
What if I don’t own a cocktail mixing glass? No prob at all — you can just as easily mix this cocktail using a mason jar or a large drinking glass instead.
What is the traditional ratio of Boulevardier ingredients? The original Boulevardier cocktail is said to have been made with a 1:1:1 ingredient ratio, but we prefer to add in an extra ounce of bourbon so that it’s not overpowered by the Campari.
More Favorite Bourbon Cocktails
Looking for more bourbon cocktail recipes to try? Here are a few of my faves…
LOVE a good Boulevardier.
We love a good boulevardier! We do a 1.25:1:1 ratio to cut the bitterness. Bookmarking that safecracker recipe next!
The Boulevardier is one of our favorite winter cocktails on a Saturday evening. Thanks for the tip about the extra bourbon. We’ll try it this weekend.
For bourbon, we use Evan Williams Bottled in Bond. It’s affordable, especially in the 1.0 liter size and really shines in cocktails.
Loved this cocktail!
Wow, I can’t believe it’s taken us so long to try this one. My wife and I have been negroni fans for years, but this version was a really nice change. We used Woodford Reserve and it was excellent.
What other sweet vermouths are preferred? I don’t think the one pictured is available locally. TIA