Meet the whiskey lover's Negroni.

Boulevardier cocktail

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Oset Babür-Winter

The Boulevardier is the whiskey lover's Negroni. Made with three simple ingredients — bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth — this straightforward cocktail comes together in seconds with staples you likely always keep in your home bar. Unlike gin, which provides a botanical nose to the Negroni, the bourbon in the Boulevardier adds a layer of sweetness, depth, and lots of cozy vibes. The Boulevardier has a relatively simple origin story dating back to the late 1920s. It’s said that Erskine Gwynne, publisher of a magazine called Boulevardier, crafted the eponymous drink. Since then, the cocktail has been a favorite amongst classic cocktail lovers and has increasingly appeared on bar menus as bartenders and mixologists embrace simpler recipes. 

Unlike the Negroni which calls for gin, vermouth, and Campari in equal parts, the Boulevardier leans on a higher ratio of bourbon to create a slight sweetness and a rich mouthfeel. While used in a slightly smaller quantity, the Boulevardier leans on bright red Campari for much-needed bitterness. Campari has become a bar staple, but there are other brands of red bitters you can substitute in as well. “It’s unclear when the first-ever red aperitivo was invented, but its roots can be traced back to 18th century Italy, where it was initially consumed as a medicine,” writes Associate Editor Amelia Schwartz. “It quickly gained popularity as a refreshing beverage, valued for its bittersweet flavor and low alcohol level.”  

Used in a variety of cocktails from simple spritzes to complicated craft cocktails, red bitters balance sweetness and tames spirits with a harsh bite. While Campari is certainly the most well-known, Galliano takes the red aperitivo in a Mediterranean direction. With a blend of citrus and spices the combination is fresh and bright and brings a signature red color to any cocktail. “Although bitter red liqueurs are most often associated with Italy, some of the most exciting aperitifs are now being made in Brooklyn, New York,” continues Schwartz. “For one, there’s Forthave Spirits, a small but mighty distilling company that focuses on amaro, gin, and aperitifs. Their RED aperitivo, made with 13 plant-based botanicals like orange, chamomile, rose, and rhubarb root, is incredibly balanced.”

Whether you’re mixing a Boulevardier with classic Campari or a red bitter of your choice, grab a big cube of ice, mix up the drink, and cozy up with this classic cocktail. 


  • 1 ounce bourbon

  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth

  • 1 ounce Campari

  • 1 lemon twist (for garnish)


  1. Add bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled.

  2. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

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