1 ½ oz. Bourbon (I used Bulleit)
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Sweet vermouth
Stir with ice in mixing glass and strain into cocktail
glass. Garnish with orange slice, lemon twist, or cherry.
The other night I was gripped by a desire for
Bourbon (IĎm usually gripped by a desire for gin or rum, but whisk(e)y
has been clamoring for my attention with alarming frequency these days).
I began searching for a suitable Bourbon-centric recipe, and struck gold
with the March/April 2007 issue of Imbibe. In his column, the venerable
Ted Haigh (a.k.a. Dr. Cocktail) details the history and composition of
the Boulevardier with his usual top-notch skill, and I was sold.
I cracked the seal on a newly-purchased bottle
of Bulleit, and dove in. As the Dr. notes in his column, this is basically
a Negroni using Bourbon in place of gin. Iím a fan of the Negroni, so I
figured Iíd still be in safe territory once I made the swap.
When this drink settles in the glass it becomes
a color I can only describe as ďrosy-rustĒ- a truly beautiful hue that
makes me think it needs to be on the cover of a cocktail guide ASAP. (All
you camera-slingers out there may want to make this one just for the opportunity
to take a picture of it.)
After a few decent sips got me well underway,
I realized my overall impression was that this drink really tastes vintage.
The ingredients pull together in a flavor combination that screams early-20th
century. (Haigh notes that the recipe first saw print in 1927.) While definitely
a whiskey-based recipe, the characteristic Bourbon flavor gets masked fairly
well for the most part--the Campari and vermouth tag-team it, relegating
it to an end note, revealing itself mainly on the finish.
I also realized about halfway through that
this drink bears a striking resemblance to the Manhattan. The Campari lends
itís distinctive taste, but thereís still no hiding the tell-tale whiskey/sweet
vermouth nucleus of the Manhattan.
So is the Boulevardier a Negroni with Bourbon
instead of gin? Yes. Is it a Manhattan with Campari added? Sort of. (All
the Manhattan purists will no doubt be gathering with pitchforks and torches
as I type this.)
Either way, itís a great drink. And if itís
further incentive, itís yet another drink Iíd put in that category of ďwhiskey
drinks for people who donít like whiskey.Ē I used to be one of those people,
and it didnít take much to convert me. If Iíd had a Boulevardier at a key
moment, it would have taken even less.
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