This cocktail is already in D’s top 5. In fact, we already have a batch of barrel-aged Boulevardiers on hand. It is his go-to drink – he once taught a bartender at a hotel in Hawaii to make this libation (3 weeks of syrupy sweet tropical concoctions will leave you screaming for a classic bevvy.)
This drink is a perfect example of how tastes can change through trial and education. The Boulevardier is the cousin of the Negroni, a drink neither D nor I enjoyed on first sip. Yet every six months or so I’d persist in ordering the Campari-heavy drink in the hopes that either it would be mixed with greater aplomb or that it would grow on me – and it did. D didn’t really come around to Campari until he fell in love with the Boulevardier. We are now sluts for bitter liqueurs.
While D regularly imbibes this brew, it had been ages since I had sipped on a Boulevardier. Somehow the cocktails of this world have been divided into two categories: D & K. Today I discovered that this is a crying shame – this is not a he versus me hobby! The Boulevardier is a smoky, warm, woody, leathery drink with a golden mahogany glow. It is bitter yet sweet and not bourbon dominant.
Our barrel-aged version, aged in a new 1-liter oak cask for two weeks, was smoother with less burn and a smokier, more woody finish. It was also less sweet that it’s un-aged counterpart. In appearance there was no difference between the two drinks, but the flavors of the aged version had married and were inextricable.
Both version are exceptional and should be consumed as often as possible.
- 1.5 ounces bourbon (we used Bulleit)
- 1 ounce Campari
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini Rosso works fine but feel free to experiment)
- Stir over ice in a mixing glass. Strain. Garnish with a cherry.
- D sometimes drinks his Boulevardier in a rocks glass with a one-inch ice cube.