If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t like a Negroni or an Old Fashioned, well, for shame.
With a Negroni, you have a great aperitif that wakes up your taste buds. While with an Old Fashioned, you’re getting a spectacular post-drink sipper. What if there was a way to combine the two? To take the best of both worlds and make a drink for all seasons, all times and everyone — that’d be something special indeed. That’s what you’re getting with an Upgraded Boulevardier.
Allow me to break this down for you. With a standard Boulevardier you have a pretty easy to remember one-to-one-to-one ratio of bourbon, Campari and sweet vermouth. Essentially, it’s a Negroni with the gin replaced by bourbon (or rye — but, don’t hate me now — rye just isn’t my favorite thing in the world). In itself, this is a perfectly fine drink.
However, when looking for a cocktail to drink, I hope you’re not looking for “perfectly fine.” If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for “sublimely spectacular.” And if you’re not — don’t sell yourself short, give sublime a try and taste the sensation.
The first thing we did to upgrade the Boulevardier is up the ratio of bourbon, now it’s at two-to-one-to-one. Yes, it makes the world of difference. You’re still going to get that bitter, taste sensation awakening characteristics as the classic, but with an overall smoother flavor.
Our next step was to add a couple of dashes of orange bitters. This is where the real marriage of a standard Boulevardier and an Old Fashioned comes into play. With the orange bitters, you’re going to get more friendly flavors from the bourbon (also why I favor bourbon over rye in this), but it will also help compliment the sweet vermouth.
Yes, there’s both Campari and bitters in this — which does indeed mean the bitter component is higher. Never fear! That’s why we balanced it out with a bigger pour of bourbon (plus, more bourbon!).
Finally, garnish that magnificent beast with an orange peel and you’re going to double up the orange flavor, awakening both your smell and taste.
Now, let’s see that Upgraded Boulevardier in easy to consume form!
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
2 dashes orange bitters
Pour the bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari into your mixing glass with ice.
Pour into your old-fashioned glass with one giant block of ice.
Garnish with orange peel.