The History Of The Boulevardier.
The Boulevardier was invented in Paris in the early 1920s by an American journalist, Erskine Gwynne. We know this because the Boulevardier was first recorded in the 1927 book Barflies and Cocktails by Harry MacElhone. In a section at the back of the book titled “Cocktails Around Town” by Arthur Moss, he states that Erskine Gwynne comes to parties making this cocktail. It’s essentially a bourbon variation of the Negroni. The word boulevardier is a French term for a wealthy, fashionable socialite man. Similar to the English term “man about town,” It is easy to mispronounce the name if you don’t speak French ( I don’t, and I had to look it up the first time I heard of this drink ), but the phonetic way to say it is “bool-ah-vard-ee-a.” If you say this wrong the first few times, you are in good company because everyone struggles with the name of this cocktail at first, so Google it to hear someone say it.
How To Order A Boulevardier.
The Boulevardier is a very cool drink to order and has tricked people into thinking I am more sophisticated than I am. The Negroni has an old man connotation, but the boulevardier is what young high-class men order. In addition, any bar can make it. Every bar, from your small average corner bar to a high-class craft bar, and you won’t look out of place ordering it either. There are very few cocktails you can say that about. So if the bar has a liquor license, they can make the boulevardier. The bartender will already know what it is, and it will be made pretty well.
What Does The Boulevardier Taste Like?
The boulevardier is a very well-balanced tasting cocktail. The bitter medicinal flavor of the Campari is complimented nicely by the herbal sweet Vermouth, with a nice caramel-y, vanilla-y bourbon base. It’s a fantastic and straightforward drink worthy of all its praise. That being said, it is not for everyone. I like strong drinks and herbal flavors, which are perfect for someone like me. On the other hand, my wife is more a Moscow Mule kind of person, and she would never want a drink like this. If you like Manhattans or Negronis, you will love it, but if you are more of a rum and coke or Moscow mule kind of person, this cocktail, b will not like the boulevardier.
Variations of the Boulevardier.
Four popular varitions of the Boulevardier are:
- Man About Town
The boulevardier is a variation of the Negroni, which predates the boulevardier by about ten years. The Negroni has a drier and more herbal taste than the boulevardier, but they are very similar. Another variation is the Americano which predates the Negroni and is the first cocktail to use Campri. The Americano was invented by Gaspare Campari himself and was initially called the Milano-Torino. It’s a different drink, though, and is a refreshing highball with a similar flavor profile. Very few people have heard of Patricia. It swaps the sweet vermouth for dry vermouth, making it a drier and slightly more herbal version of the Negroni. I like Negronis; then you may like this too.
A Nice Vermouth Makes A World Of Difference.
The most essential ingredient in this is the sweet vermouth. There is only one Campari, and while bourbon provides a nice vanilla and toasted oak base to the drink and does matter, it’s the sweet vermouth that will make the most significant difference. The strong Campari and vermouth flavors overpower the subtle bourbon flavors. There are no terrible sweet vermouths, and the cheaper stuff works fine, but there are a few amazing ones out there. I usually buy smaller 375ml bottles of sweet vermouth because it is wine-based, and like all wines, it oxidizes after a while. It has a slightly longer shelf life than regular red wine but not much more. When I buy the larger 750ml bottles, I find half of them spoil before I finish using them. So instead of spending $7 for an average 750mLs bottle of sweet vermouth, you will end up wasting half of it anyway, pay $13 for a fantastic bottle of sweet vermouth that’s half the size, but you will finish. Once you start using excellent sweet vermouth, you will never want to use anything else. It makes a very noticeable difference for not that much more money.
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