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Friday, December 10, 2010

Take a stroll with the Boulevardier cocktail

While reading a paper magazine (yes, there are still some around), the Utah Mixologist saw mention of the Boulevardier cocktail, a Negroni made with Whiskey.  Now that sounded interesting, or at least it does if you like Campari® Bitter liqueur (150 years old this year).  As the name implies, Campari is bitter and takes some getting used to, but once you do, it is well worth the effort.  The next step, as always, was to do some research on the web, where several sources mentioned the Boulevardier’s first appearance in print in 1927’s Barflies and Cocktails by Harry McElhone (of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris).

The classic Negroni is mixed at a 1:1:1 ratio, but what about a Boulevardier?  The ratio was definitely variable.  On Cocktail Concoctions, the well respected Paul Clarke used the 1:1:1 ratio with Bourbon or Rye whiskey.  In the meantime, Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, writing for Imbibe! Magazine, advocated the 1.5:1:1 ratio using Bourbon, while the Cocktail Enthusiast cited a 1:1:1 ratio, but then admitted to preferring a 1.5:1:1 ratio, both with Bourbon.  Finally, Jay Hepburn on Oh Gosh!, an admitted Campari hater (well, that may be overstating it a bit), used Bourbon and was the outlier with a 2:1:1 ratio.

This mixologist experimented a bit and found that the 1:1:1 ratio played well with Ryes and spicier Bourbons like Buffalo Trace®, while the 1.5:1:1 ratio seemed to work a little better with less dominant Bourbons.  If your cocktail seems too bitter at first, be patient and don’t give up; your patience will be rewarded.  This is one recipe where you will want to experiment and see which ratio works best with your ingredients.  Please post your thoughts and results as a response to this article.

In case you are fresh out of Campari (CS# 064636), it is in general distribution in Utah.  If, however, your local Utah State Liquor Store is a small one, you might want to call ahead.  If you’re looking to upgrade your cocktail experience, you should try the Quady® Vya Sweet Vermouth (CS# 910764), but it’s in limited distribution so be sure to call ahead on the Vya.

Boulevardier Cocktail

1 oz. Campari® Bitter liqueur
1 oz. Quady® Vya Sweet Vermouth
1 oz. (or 1 ½ oz.) Bourbon or Rye Whiskey

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass half full of ice and stir briskly for 20-40 seconds.  Strain into an Old Fashioned glass half full of ice (or a pre-chilled cocktail glass if you prefer it up).  Twist a slice of orange peel (or lemon if you prefer) over the glass to release the oils, rub it around the rim, and then drop it in.

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