Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Boulevardier

You gotta love a place like Bar Avignon, and people like owners Randy Goodman and Nancy Hunt, whose tag line is "Drinking is fun!" No equivocating, no apologies, just a simple statement of fact. Because we're all adults here and we know about drinking responsibly and behaving like civilized human beings.

And I am in complete accord with them concerning the agreeable, possibly even medicinal, properties of the consumption of moderate quantities of alcohol. One beverage in particular, the Manhattan, has been added to our house cocktail list. It's primary ingredient, bourbon, was on my "I gotta have more of that" list, with its caramel color and smell and smooth, honey-like feel going down. So when our neighbor made a batch one night, substituting an insidiously addictive amarena cherry for the usual maraschino, I was hooked.

Then Dave, in perusing "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails"by Ted Haigh, ran across a recipe for the Boulevardier, which had itself first appeared in print in 1927's classic "Barflies and Cocktails"by Harry McElhone. Basically, as I see it, a Manhattan with Campari or, as Haigh says, a Negroni with bourbon, Haigh writes "it was the signature drink of Erskine Gwynne, expatriate writer, socialite, and nephew of railroad tycoon Alfred Vanderbuilt." It was from Gwynne, according to Haigh, that the cocktail likely got it's name, which translates roughly as "man about town."

The Boulevardier
From "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails"by Ted Haigh

1 1/2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth (Haigh recommends trying Carpano Antica)

Stir long and well with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry. (We highly recommend Italian amarena cherries, available at many specialty food stores.)

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