How to make the classic Boulevardier cocktail

The Boulevardier, according to the venerable New York Times, made a comeback within New York cocktail circles about five years ago. “Why the sudden popularity?” the Times asked.It helps that the drink is only a short sidestep from the trendy Negroni, which asks for gin instead of whiskey.”

In this episode of Cocktail Club, Abbie Rhoads of Chicago’s Michelin-starred Parachute shows us how to prepare this classic drink, which Serious Eats describes as “rich and intriguing... [Negroni’s] long-lost autumnal cousin.”



  • .75 oz Cappelletti
  • .75 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 oz. bourbon

Add to mixing glass with ice, stir for 30 seconds. Add to coupe glass and garnish with orange peel.


Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


Lord of the Ducks

I know you’re keeping the videos short, but perhaps a little more explanation of what the drinks are, what the ingredients are, and why the changes from the original/classic. Even if all of that is in the article text and not the video it would be quite helpful. Not everyone here is drink savvy. Right now it is “Here make a drink you never heard of based on another drink you probably never heard of, using an ingredient you might have never seen in place of another ingredient you probably have only seen in passing, and we’re not even going to tell you what this taste like.”

What’s Negroni? For those wondering, the Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail. It is one part gin, one part sweet red vermouth, and one part Campari. It is usually garnished with orange peel. It is named for a Count that thought the Americano needed more of a kick so he had the bartender place the soda with gin.

What’s a Boulevardier? A Boulevardier is a Negroni made with whiskey (usually bourbon) instead of gin. The classic is one part bourbon, one part sweet red vermouth, and one part Campari. Some variations call for two parts bourbon to one part vermouth and one part Campari. It is garnished with either orange peel or a cherry.

Here they are going with the more bourbon forward version and substituting Cappelletti (the liquor, not the pasta*) for Campari.

What is Campari? It is an Italian liquor, red in color, often used as a bitters or served as an apéritif (an alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite). Campari is made by infusing alcohol and water with citrus and spices and colored red. Flavor wise think herbs and spices with strong bitter citrus notes. On the tongue it starts sweet and turns bitter rather quickly. The flavor isn’t for everyone.

So what then is Cappelletti? It is basically a more drinkable Campari. It is made with a base of wine and if memory serves has a fuller, richer flavor that is bitter and herbal yet has a little sweetness. It is a more well rounded flavor and a good choice if you find Campari off putting. It is kinda like the Pepsi to Campari’s Coke. If I recall correctly, Cappelletti has only been on the American market for like 5 or 6 years so it isn’t as well known.

Why are they going with the pasta named liquor? Substituting Cappelletti makes the drink a bit sweeter/smoother and provides a richer, more complex flavor. It is also an easy way to make the drink different from everyone else by using a similar but less well known ingredient. Plus it tends to cost less.

Overall their choices in going 2 parts bourbon and using Cappelletti is going to enhance the sweetness and smoothness of the drink while letting the bourbon flavor shine. The orange peel helps bring attention to the citrus notes in the drink.

*Tapas Variant: If you really want to incorporate cappelletti the pasta, cook the filled pasta, take two wooden skewers and impale 3-4 pieces on each one, then cross the two skewers atop the glass.