1oz Carpano Antica
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Serve up in a chilled coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange peal.
One of the greatest cocktails ever made (not biased at all). Sweet, Bitter, Smooth. A Manhattan/Negroni variation of sorts, with a more robust flavor profile. The interplay between the three main ingredients will make many Manhattan lovers favor the Boulevardier as the additional orange tinged bitter complexity added by the Campari really sets this one apart. For those that love a Negroni, the Boulevardier is an obviously heavier, fuller flavored drink, due to swapping whiskey for gin.
The particular combination of Antica, Campari and Knob Creek all lend a slightly smokey, earthy flavor to the drink. The flamed orange twist accentuates these flavors and adds to the orange flavor in the Campari. 100 proof whiskey, such as Knob Creek or Rittenhouse Rye, is recommended for the Boulevardier as it will hold up well in equal parts to the strong flavor of the Campari. The rye also works great for a less sweet, slightly spicier taste.
The Boulevardier dates back to prohibition. Bartender Harry McElhone is often credited with this one while at the helm of Harry’s New York Bar, in Paris. Prior to prohibition, McElhone worked at the Plaza Hotel bar in New York City, but as some bartenders did, fled to Europe at the start of prohibition. After moving around Europe, he settled at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. A rare benefit of prohibition was that some of the bartenders who relocated gained access to new ingredients, such as Campari, which were not available in the United States at the time.
The Boulevardier is tied closely to Erskinne Gwynne, a wealthy American who moved to Paris and started a magazine called The Boulevardier. Some say McElhone created it for him, while McElhone seems to credit it to Gwynne. The cocktail is featured in two of McElhone’s books, ABC of Mixing Cocktails (early 1920s) and Barflies and Cocktails (1927) and is essentially a variation of the Negroni; however, the Boulevardier actually appeared in widespread print prior to the Negroni.
Try this one with equal parts first as the flavor significantly changes with a higher volume of whiskey, bringing the drink closer to a Manhattan accentuated by the other ingredients, rather than the evenly balanced recipe featured above. Once you get a sense of this version, play with the ratios to see what you prefer.
Many modern bartenders mix this one with a higher ratio of whiskey to the other ingredients, often using 1.5oz to 2oz of whiskey and reducing the other ingredients appropriately. Some swap for rye, and others use both a higher ratio and rye. The argument by some is that bourbon is not strong enough to stand up to the Campari; however, if using some of the slightly higher proof spirits, such as Knob Creek at 100 proof, the whiskey stands up well, while keeping the original ratio.
Many other variations exist. A simple one if you like the earthy and smokey aspects of the Boulevardier is to rinse the chilled coupe in Peat Monster, or other peaty scotch to add an additional warm smokey flavor prior to pouring in the drink.