The Negroni Variations: Boulevardier

There are waves in the drinks world. Ideas that roll around and smash together to create rolling peaks where everyone seems to talk about the same thing for a short time. I really like negronis, and having seen a bunch of mentions of them and the negroni family over the past week, I better jump on before my metaphor breaks. Negroni variation #1: the Boulevardier.


I blame Stanley Tucci. This time last year, we were all getting used to lockdown and trying to order fancy drinks from whatever establishment would fling them in our direction. The negroni was too simple – just three bottles, equal measures, in a glass, with some ice. We wanted something only a professional could make. Something we couldn’t make on our own.

Then Stanley Tucci made a negroni.

It’s not a good negroni. In some ways, it’s not even a negroni. Use vodka if you don’t like gin? Shake it? Serve it up? In a coupe?

He is a monster.

However, he’s a monster with strangely popular forearms and a disregard for anyone’s comments on his negroni. He liked it and his Instagram account is now loaded with more cocktail videos, all horrifically popular. Well played, Stanley Tucci.

Now, almost a year later, we’re back to having the prospect of bars opening again dangled in front of us, but we’re also back to making whatever drinks we can make at home, at home. You may not have all the things you need to make a negroni, but why not play with it and make something you can make, and might like even better? Be more Stanley.

What’s a negroni?

I’ve written about negronis before. I even recorded a video about them in response to Mr Tucci’s abomination. But that was almost a year ago. One of the things that has revived the concept of playing with negronis recently is this video from Lewis Hayes of Merchant House.

He might tell us off at first for going off plan, but then he jumps in and tells us to play around with the drink.

Double up the gin. Switch out gin for soda and make an Americano. Switch in rum, Tequila, mezcal. No rules.

But recently, my go to is the variant he talks about the most – The Boulevardier.

What’s a Boulevardier?

While it’s my standard negroni variation, recently I was kicked into drinking more of them by Richard Godwin’s the Spirits newsletter.

40ml bourbon
25ml Italian vermouth
25ml Campari

Stir everything in an old-fashioned glass with lots of ice, ideally, one massive cube. Garnish with an orange or lemon zest twist!

THE Boulevardier is what you get when a Manhattan beds a Negroni. It has the rugged bourbon heft of the former and the continental sophistication of the latter. An Übercocktail! 

Richard Godwin – the Spirits #18: The Boulevardier

I’ve never really though too much about the drink – I just threw equal measures of bourbon, vermouth and Campari into a glass, topped it up with ice, stirred it with my finger, and poured it down my neck. But as Mr Godwin says: up the bourbon – it’s a bit syrupy otherwise, and more bourbon is rarely a problem.

After watching Lewis’s negroni video, I upped the gin in my negroni to a 2:1:1 ratio, and my next Boulevardier followed in a similar fashion. I now have a new old favourite to drink while preparing dinner. It worked on Saturday, it worked this evening, and I suspect it will work tomorrow. If there’s any bourbon left…

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