As much as I love food and drink, it was with some embarrassment that I never knew what to order in a bar. Cocktails and mixed drinks (the same thing? even experts can’t agree) always intrigued, but aside from asking the server, “What would you recommend? I don’t like fruity.”, I didn’t have a clue. Which is why I set out to school myself with Cocktail U and of course bring you along for the ride.
Then there are the slightly more esoteric drinks I usually end up making at home as I don’t run in circles where they are common. Exhibit A: the negroni. I was introduced to this Campari-gin-vermouth cocktail when I co-blogged with a lovely lady I met here at WordPress. We crashed a virtual Sicilian cocktail party and it was there I had my first negroni. It has since become a favorite and my drink of choice when I need to feel a bit more sophisticated than my suburban environs merit. Love me a negroni.
So imagine my delight when I read that replacing the gin with bourbon transforms a negroni into a Boulevardier.While Boulevardier recipes most often call for equal amounts bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari, I found a slightly different version in a favorite drinks book.
Here, the bourbon was upped from 1 to 1 1/2 ounces, making it the heaviest hitter in the drink. As a bourbon-lover, I guessed that to be a good thing. Turned out I prefer keeping each ingredient at an ounce. Already a bracing drink containing nothing but alcohol (and a lovely bourbon-soaked Maraschino cherry), kicking up the bourbon made it more powerful than I cared for and also threw off what I thought a perfect flavor balance.
A boulevardier, then, is the beverage we’ll serve with last week’s Lane Cake. With bourbon in the cake filling and the cocktail, we have a double dose and everything is dreamy.
It’s a bracing and delicious cocktail–sweet but also bitter. A perfect foil for a sweet Southern cake.
Thank you to all for attending Cocktail U’s 17th session. Hoping to see you next as we continue our rotation, moving our classroom across the hall to discover yet another one of Great-aunt Helen’s recipes. May your cake and cocktail dreams be sweet!