Winter Boulevardier Cocktail Recipe

Made with a special bitter and herbaceous amaro, the winter Boulevardier cocktail is a twist on the classic cocktail that you'll want to sip on all season long. The Boulevardier cocktail is a classic drink perfect for cozy winter nights. Originating in the 1920s, the classic iteration of the three-ingredient cocktail traditionally combines bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth. But thanks to a twist from Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, our recipe takes a departure from the classic by swapping out one of the ingredients for Amaro Averna Siciliano.

A traditional Boulevardier cocktail contains Campari, making it somewhat reminiscent of a Negroni. However, with the customary sweet bitterness of the Campari, we felt the drink remained overly reminiscent of days lazing by the pool. So we subbed out the Campari for Amaro Averna Siciliano, an Italian liqueur with a complex blend of herbs, spices, citrus peel, and botanicals that provide a warming winter flavor profile. With bold flavors from the sweet vermouth balanced by the warmth of bourbon and the wintry notes of amaro, this version of the Boulevardier cocktail takes the drink in a more seasonal direction that's ideal to enjoy by the fire on a chilly evening.

Gather the Ingredients for a winter Boulevardier cocktail

To craft this wintry take on the Boulevardier cocktail, you will need bourbon, red vermouth, Amaro Averna Siciliano, a pine branch for garnish, and a dried orange slice for garnish.

Step 1: Combine the liquors

Add bourbon, red vermouth, and Amaro Averna Siciliano to a short glass.

Step 2: Stir

Stir the ingredients together in the glass.

Step 3: Add ice

Add an ice cube to the glass.

Step 4: Garnish

Garnish the cocktail with a pine branch and a dried orange slice.

Step 5: Serve

Serve the winter Boulevardier cocktail immediately.

What amaro can I use besides Amaro Averna Siciliano?

There are several options to substitute for Amaro Averna Siciliano if you cannot easily source it but want to stick to the same bitter, herbaceous flavor profile. Two suitable replacements with more intense flavors are Fernet Branca and Jägermeister. Fernet Branca is a highly aromatic Italian amaro containing over 40 herbs and spices. With prominent bitter and herbal notes of myrrh, rhubarb, and saffron, it can add robust complexity to cocktails usually containing Amaro Averna. Jägermeister, a popular German digestif, also brings warmth from spices like cinnamon, licorice, and anise. While sweeter than Fernet, it still offers plenty of flavor that stands up well in mixed drinks. 

Other alternatives you can try are Amaro Montenegro for similar sweetness and roundness or Cynar for its artichoke influence. In a pinch, you can always go for the original Campari and taste how the drink was initially made. If your liqueur cabinet permits, we recommend you try all different versions to see how each substitute changes the recipe's balance before deciding which amaro is best suited for your preferences.

Can you adjust the alcohol content in this winter Boulevardier cocktail?

This cocktail recipe can easily be modified to suit your desired alcohol strength. If a more potent Boulevardier is preferred, simply increase the portions of bourbon, vermouth, and amaro slightly, such as using an extra ½ ounce of each. This will provide more alcohol while keeping the flavor balance intact. For a lighter version, reduce the amounts of each ingredient to ¾ ounce or half an ounce to cut back on the alcohol. 

Another option is to omit the vermouth entirely and make it a two-ingredient bourbon and amaro cocktail. Simply stir 1 ounce of bourbon and 1 ounce of amaro together over ice for a simpler drink that highlights the bold flavors of the spirits without the complexities added by vermouth. This stripped-back version would have less alcohol while retaining the core flavors of this wintry Boulevardier.

What other garnish options are there for this winter Boulevardier cocktail?

We love the visual effect of using a real pine branch and a dried orange slice in this drink. But of course, there are other choices that can enhance the drink's visual presentation while still hinting at the strong, warming flavors inside this cocktail. Brandied cherries offer a burst of fruity sweetness to balance the drink's bitterness. A twist of orange peel will release aromatic oils that lift and brighten the bourbon notes. 

For added warmth, try adding a cinnamon stick for a spicy counterpart. Fresh herbs common in winter, such as rosemary and thyme, would also make appealing garnishes since their robust profiles pair beautifully with the spirit base. For sweetness, a slice of candied ginger would add a kick of heat without overpowering the flavors of the spirits. Finally, going in a fresher direction, a scattering of fresh pomegranate seeds would provide pops of color, while their tart notes help cut through the richness of the drink.

Winter Boulevardier Cocktail Recipe
5 from 32 ratings
If you're a fan of a classic Boulevardier cocktail then you'll love this wintery version, which swaps out Campari for amaro.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
1
Serving
Dark red cocktail with ice cubes in background
Total time: 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1 ounce red vermouth
  • 1 ounce Amaro Averna Siciliano
  • 1 pine branch, for garnish
  • 1 dried orange slice, for garnish
Directions
  1. Add bourbon, red vermouth, and Amaro Averna Siciliano to a short glass.
  2. Stir the ingredients together in the glass.
  3. Add an ice cube to the glass.
  4. Garnish the cocktail with a pine branch and a dried orange slice.
  5. Serve the winter Boulevardier cocktail immediately.
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