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The Boulevardier is bracing, balanced, and sophisticated, with charm to spare. This classic cocktail is a fall and winter favorite.
Why we love this recipe
You won’t find a cocktail with more straightforward sophistication than the Boulevardier. This beloved drink has it all. It’s:
- Strong, yet balanced enough to be eminently sippable
- Both a classic in its own right and a riff on another favorite
- Equally at home solo or batched
- Honestly? Just kinda perfect in a way that doesn’t need explaining.
What you’ll need
Here’s a quick glance at your Boulevardier ingredients. See the notes that follow for pro-tips on choosing them.
- Bourbon or rye: Bourbon and rye work equally well in this drink. Bourbon gives it a slightly richer, softer quality. Rye makes it a little drier. I suggest sampling it both ways (oh, fine, if you insist) and observing which version you prefer.
- Campari: The amount left in the bottle above says everything you need to know about my love for this jewel-toned ingredient.
- Sweet vermouth: Use a good-quality vermouth. We’re perpetual fans of Carpano Antica. Other good choices here: Punt e Mes (which is more bitter), Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino (well-balanced), and even Dolin.
How to make it
Here’s all you need to do to make this recipe. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.
- Fill a mixing glass with plenty of ice. Add the bourbon or rye.
- Pour in the Campari and vermouth.
- Stir until very well chilled.
- Pour into a rocks glass with fresh ice and garnish with an orange twist. You can also serve this drink up in a coupe glass, but I really prefer the melt of a big ice cube.
Expert tips and FAQs
Loosely translated from French, boulevardier means “man about town.” It’s a social, sophisticated guy with an easy charm who’s tapped in to the hot spots and likes to be out and about.
Say boo-luh-vahr-dee-a. It’s a mouthful, but it’s worth it.
It was created by Erksine Gwynne, the founder of a magazine of the same name for expats living in Paris in the 1920s. Many classic cocktails have murky origins, but this one does not — and that story matches the drink perfectly.
You sure can. Into a pitcher, pour 1 1/2 cups bourbon or rye, 1 cup Campari, and 1 cup vermouth. Add 1/2 cup filtered water. (You can scale it larger, too, following these ratios.) Refrigerate until cold. To serve, pour into rocks glasses over ice.
A short list of related favorites
- The Fifteen is another great way to use whiskey in the fall
- As is this Manhattan trio
- For the holidays, try a Grumpy Gingerbread
- And here’s this cocktail’s summery cousin and wintery one
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon or rye
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce Campari
- Orange twist, to garnish
- Place plenty of ice into a mixing glass.
- Pour in the bourbon or rye, vermouth, and Campari.
- Stir well until chilled.
- Pour into a single old-fashioned glass, garnish with twist of orange peel, and serve.
- Made with bourbon, this drink is a little bit richer. With rye, it's a little bit drier. It's fabulous either way — it's really up to you.
- Use a good-quality vermouth. We love Carpano Antica, Punt e Mes (which is more bitter), and Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino. Dolin is also a fine choice.
- If you'd like to serve this drink at a party, you can batch it by scaling up. Into a pitcher, pour 1 1/2 cups bourbon or rye, 1 cup Campari, and 1 cup sweet vermouth. Add 1/2 cup filtered water. Chill well. Then pour individual servings into rocks glasses over ice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200