Classic Boulevardier Cocktail Recipe

Even if you don't consider yourself a cocktail aficionado, you've likely heard of a Negroni. Maybe, even, the bitter crimson drink is one of your favorites (or maybe you detest it). Whether it's your drink of choice or the drink you avoid, the Boulevardier should be the next cocktail you try — it has all the bite of a Negroni but with a sweet bourbon twist. According to developer Michelle McGlinn, it's especially perfect for whiskey lovers because the base spirit makes it a bit more dense and full-bodied than the gin-forward Negroni.

Like the Negroni, the Boulevardier has been around a long time but only made its way to America after the Prohibition era. The early 1920s caused many American bartenders to travel to Europe for work, bringing home new spirits like Campari post-Prohibition. The Boulevardier appeared in New Yorker Harry McElhone's "Barflies and Cocktails" in 1927, crediting the drink to its Parisian inspiration, an editor for the famous publication The Boulevardier who claimed the whiskey cocktail as his signature drink. It's an internationally classic cocktail, and one you should definitely have in your repertoire for serving whiskey-loving guests.

Grab the spirits for a classic Boulevardier

This ingredient list is straightforward, and if you love Negronis, you likely have everything you need already. Grab a bottle of rye or bourbon whiskey, Campari, and sweet vermouth, then an orange to use as garnish. If you're having a Boulevardier for the first time, we recommend starting with bourbon (you can use a budget bourbon like Benchmark for a neutral flavor) to experience the sweet, balanced taste. If you like the sharp spiciness of rye, try that next for something a little bolder.

Choosing a glass and adding ice to a Boulevardier

The Boulevardier is the best kind of cocktail: Stirred inside the serving glass. No extra cleanup here. Because of that, it is traditional to serve in a rocks glass, which can easily handle being used for mixing. If you're able to make large ice cubes, this cocktail is a good way to use them. A large ice cube will melt slowly and dilute the drink while keeping it chilled, unlike smaller ice cubes that melt and water down the drink. Think big and use 2-inch ice cubes here.

For a fancier presentation, you could also stir the Boulevardier in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Depending on how long you stir the spirits with ice, this version will be slightly stronger and served a little warmer than its on-the-rocks counterpart.

Mix the cocktail

Like a Negroni, a Boulevardier comes together quickly. Just pour the whiskey, Campari, and vermouth over an ice cube and stir gently to chill. This recipe has an equally divided ratio of 1:1:1, but some bartenders do prefer adding extra whiskey to balance the bitter Campari further. You can splash in a little extra whiskey, or for more specific measurement, add a half ounce extra.

Garnish and serve

This one's an easy one to garnish — just peel an orange and drop it in. The bright citrusy flavor complements the bitter Campari and sweet whiskey, so it's a better choice than zingy lemon or lime. For even more orange flavor, drop in a whole orange wedge or swap for a striking red blood orange. Like an old fashioned, it's not uncommon to also add a syrupy Luxardo cherry. This sweetens the drink considerably, so use this if you really hate the bitter taste of Campari.

The Boulevardier is best served as an aperitif before dinner or as a post-dinner dessert. Serve with strong, stinky cheeses and marinated olives or alongside rich chocolate desserts. It's a super versatile cocktail and can even be enjoyed over sandwiches, and it's easy enough to make any day of the week, too.

Classic Boulevardier Cocktail Recipe
5 from 19 ratings
Learn how to make a classic Boulevardier cocktail that brings together the bitter flavor of Campari and the sweet full-bodied taste of bourbon or rye.
Prep Time
Cook Time
boulevardier cocktail in glass on table
Total time: 4 minutes
  • 1 ounce rye whiskey (or bourbon)
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 orange peel, for garnish
  1. Add ice to a rocks glass.
  2. Pour whiskey, Campari, and vermouth over ice. Stir gently until chilled, about 15 seconds.
  3. Garnish with a slice of orange peel.
Calories per Serving 161
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Total Sugars 0.3 g
Sodium 1.8 mg
Protein 0.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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