One thing I really enjoy about cocktails is watching our preferences shift with the changing seasons. As we settle into the cooler weather and shorter days, we generally find ourselves reaching for the bourbon. The gin slowly makes it way to the back of the cart and patiently waits for the warm days to return. Manhattans were king for a few winters, but the current beverage of choice is a not-so-distant cousin, the Boulevardier.
Think of it as a mash-up between a Manhattan and a Negroni. It's the classic spirit/bitter/sweet combination. I find it a bit more punchy and interesting than a Manhattan. A Boulevardier is essentially a Negroni made with bourbon (or rye - as pictured) instead of gin. It dates back to the 1920s and traditionally has equal parts of all three spirits. We like to bulk up the bourbon pour a bit.
Fair warning, if you don't like Campari, you probably won't like a Boulevardier. Campari is an Italian apéritif of infused herbs and fruit in alcohol and water. The end result is a bitter (and a little bit sweet) liquor that is a great bitter in note in cocktails. It's also delicious with citrus juice. It's a beautiful deep red color. I can certainly be an acquired taste. I've heard someone compare Campari to cilantro - you either love it or you hate it. I just happen to adore it and really think it shines in this classic cocktail. Cheers!
1 ½ ounces bourbon or rye
¾ ounce sweet vermouth
¾ ounce Campari
orange zest for garnish
Measure all ingredients into mixing glass filled with fresh ice.
Like all spirit-based cocktails, mix ingredients together by stirring until well chilled.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with orange zest, taking care to zest fruit over the cocktail.