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Boulevardier: A Classic Cocktail with a Twist

Written by Emma C | Updated May 2023

In loose translation, a boulevardier embodies the essence of a sophisticated man-about-town. This very essence gave rise to a cocktail with the same name, crafted by none other than Erskine Gwynne, the publisher of "Boulevardier," a magazine catering to expatriates in 1920s Paris. The libation gained widespread popularity when it found a place in Harry MacElhone's 1927 book, "Barflies and Cocktails." Within its pages, MacElhone credited Gwynne, a regular visitor to his bar, as the mastermind behind this exquisite concoction. It's a charming narrative, mirroring the elegance of the drink itself, which continues to captivate cocktail enthusiasts to this day. In this blog post, we will share a Boulevardier recipe along with some bottle recommendations from our bottle shop to help you make the perfect cocktail at home.

Boulevardier Recipe
  • 1 1/2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz grenadine syrup
  • 1 oz Campari
  • Orange peel for garnish
  • Add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari to a mixing glass filled with ice.
  • Stir until well-chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
  • Enjoy!
Top 10 Recommendations for a Boulevardier – Available In Our Bottle Shop
1. Elijah Craig Small Batch

This award-winning, signature Small Batch bourbon carries a distinctive warm spice and subtle smoke flavor thanks to Level 3 charred oak barrels. Handcrafted by Elijah Craig’s Master Distillers, it’s a favorite of bourbon connoisseurs and casual whiskey fans alike.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Peach, Toffee, Spice | ABV: 47%

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2. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year

Using their deep bourbon knowledge, legendary bourbon makers Jimmy and Eddie Russell crafted this 10-year-old classic. Aged in No. 4 alligator char barrels and bottled at 90 proof, it’s the Russell’s Reserve expression that started it all.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Vanilla, Tobacco| ABV: 45%

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3. Bulleit Bourbon

Inspired by the whiskey pioneered by an old family recipe over 150 years ago, Bulleit Bourbon only contains top-quality ingredients. The expression’s subtlety and complexity stem from its unique blend of rye, corn, and barley malt, plus yeast strains and pure Kentucky limestone filtered water. Thanks to its particularly high rye content, Bulleit carries a spicy, bold, character with a distinctively clean and smooth finish.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Smooth Oak & Smoke | ABV: 45%

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4. Rittenhouse Rye

Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky’s heritage and past honors Philadelphia's famous Rittenhouse Square. Today's Rittenhouse is bottled-in-bond and has the distinct, spicy flavor long associated with the brand.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Herbal, Licorice, Honey, Rye | ABV: 40%

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5. Woodford Reserve Bourbon

The art of making fine bourbon first took place in 1812 on Woodford Reserve Distillery’s site, which is now a National Historic Landmark. The perfectly balanced taste of this Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey is made up of over 200 flavor notes, from bold wood and grain to sweet aromatics, spice, and floral and fruit.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Caramel | ABV: 45.2%

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6. Makers Mark

From how one man changed the way he thought about making bourbon, we think of it entirely differently today. Bill Samuels, Sr., wanted a whisky he would enjoy without being bitter or sharp. Maker's Mark is just that – made with soft red winter wheat, instead of the usual rye, for a unique, full-flavored expression. For consistency, each barrel is rotated by hand and aged to taste, not time.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Spiced Honey, Fruit, Oak | ABV: 45%

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7. Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack

Inspired by founder Jack Daniels himself, Gentleman Jack is incredibly balanced and smooth thanks to its second charcoal mellowing. Great for any occasion, you’ll love the caramel, honey, wood, mint, vanilla, nut, and pepper notes this classic whiskey offers.

Region: Tennessee | Tasting Notes: Honey, Caramel, Pepper, | ABV: 40%

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8. Four Roses Bourbon

Four Roses bourbon is ideal for a new or casual bourbon drinker who wants an elevated yet everyday whiskey. This expression offers lovely notes of honey, marmalade, cinnamon, oak, and lemon.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Marmalade, Honey, Cinnamon | ABV: 40%

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9. Pikesville Rye

First produced in the 1890s, Pikesville Rye was closed down by Prohibition, along with the rest of Maryland’s once-booming rye industry. After this period, the brand relaunched and became the last-standing Maryland rye. Today, it’s produced in Kentucky from extra-aged barrels stored in prime warehouse locations.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Cacao, Honeyed Rye, Clove | ABV: 55%

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10. Knob Creek Bourbon

Barrels of Knob Creek Bourbon patiently age in white oak, as the brand’s distillers continue to raise standards and fulfill their commitment to full flavor. The outcome is a consistent balance of deep, pre-Prohibition-style bourbon with a robust oak flavor, along with smooth, layered hints of vanilla and caramel.

Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Oak, Vanilla, Caramel | ABV: 50%

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The Boulevardier is a classic cocktail that is perfect for any occasion. With the right ingredients and a little bit of practice, you can easily make this delicious cocktail at home. So why not give it a try and see why it's quickly becoming one of the most popular drinks in bars around the world?

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