Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Classic Cocktails: the Boulevardier 1934/1929

Yet another drink taken from The Art of the Shim, the history has since been updated to show that its provenance reaches even further back. While in general form this has similarities to the more classic whiskey-based Bouldevardier from 1927, it takes a rather different and softer approach.

Boulevardier 1934/1929

1 oz Dubonnet (sub Punt e Mes)
1 oz kina (Cocchi Americano)
0.5 oz Campari
0.5 oz cognac

Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The aromas start off rather closed, but open up as the drink warms. There's a lovely melange of dark raisins, grapefruit, cognac, raspberries, and some dry bitter notes. The sip opens rather sweetly with a bit of a syrupy feel, some grape and raspberry notes right behind, then slides into an unfolding array of gentle bitterness ranging from the dry quinine and wormwood notes to the slightly more astringent Campari. The finish is pleasantly bitter, drawing from the wines and Campari in roughly equal measure, with just enough residual sweetness to keep it from being too much.

As with many drinks in this book, it helps a lot to adjust your expectations. Initially this comes off somewhat like a cold glass of vermouth, but as it sits and warms the other ingredients make themselves known and add complexity. While this won't have the punch of a more spirit-driven cocktail, there's absolutely no lack of flavor here. The form also offers some interesting room to play since I think you could swap the cognac for something like rye or apple brandy to put a new twist on it. Alternatively, swapping the Campari for a different red bitter will dial the overall bitterness up or down.

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