A Boulevardier Cocktail Swaps Gin With Bourbon For A Sweet Twist On The Negroni

Cocktail connoisseurs are constantly on the lookout for the next revival drink to sip on during happy hour, and the classic Boulevardier is undergoing a renaissance. Suppose you are a fan of the Negroni. In that case, the Boulevardier is its not-so-distant cocktail cousin, and while there are plenty of Negroni variations you need to try, the simple alcohol swap between these two drinks leads to a completely different experience. 

A Negroni is comprised of gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, and an orange twist for garnish. The Boulevardier ditches the gin and instead gets its identity from whiskey, either bourbon or rye. Both drinks are characterized by their candy-sweet, boozy sip; however, the substitution of bourbon or rye transforms the Boulevardier into a warm, spicy mix that contrasts with Negroni's sharp and piney notes thanks to the gin. That said, if you are going to hop on the Boulevardier wagon, it is important to know that whiskey is not for the faint of heart, and beginners will want to opt for bourbon over rye whiskey. 

Don't skimp on the bourbon

Why bourbon instead of rye? Bourbon is a much tamer form of whiskey than rye, which can be spicy and peppery. Bourbon, on the other hand, is quite sweet. Its vanilla and caramel elements are on full display in a Boulevardier, echoing the same notes found in sweet vermouth. Bourbon's flavor profile also complements and mixes well with the bitter citrus and spice flavors of Campari making for a smooth and sweet sip. 

When it comes to the best bourbons for a Boulevardier, you don't want to skimp. This is an elegant drink that deserves quality bourbon. Maker's Mark and Knob Creek are perfect picks, offering all the rich and sweet tastes for the palate that make this cocktail enjoyable. But if you are looking for something a little different, Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey is at the top of the list. Its punchy taste can lighten this cocktail and add notes of toffee that work with the sweet vermouth and Campari.