Boulevardier vs Negroni: What’s the difference?
As seasoned cocktail bartenders, we have had the pleasure of experimenting with a wide variety of cocktails.
Two of the most popular cocktails that people often confuse are the Boulevardier and Negroni. While they share some similarities, they are remarkably different. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the Boulevardier vs Negroni, including their origins, ingredients, preparation, flavor profiles, differences, similarities, and which one to choose.
Boulevardier vs Negroni. Here we go!
- The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail invented in the early 1900s, while the Boulevardier was created in Paris in the 1920s.
- Both cocktails share similar ingredients, including Campari and sweet vermouth, but the Boulevardier uses whiskey instead of gin.
- The Negroni has a bittersweet taste with a prominent orange note, while the Boulevardier is richer and has a smoky, whiskey-forward flavor.
- The Negroni is a versatile cocktail that is perfect for aperitifs, while the Boulevardier is ideal for sipping after dinner.
- Some popular variations of the Negroni and Boulevardier include the White Negroni, Negroni Sbagliato, and Bourbon Boulevardier.
Origin and history
The Negroni is one of the most iconic cocktails in the world. It was invented in Florence, Italy, in the early 1900s, by Count Camillo Negroni, who asked his bartender to make his Americano cocktail stronger by replacing the soda water with gin. This new concoction became an instant hit and was named after its creator.
The original Negroni recipe calls for equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, served over ice with an orange peel garnish. Some bartenders may also add a splash of soda water or an extra ingredient like grapefruit bitters to enhance the flavor.
Preparation and serving
To make a Negroni, fill a mixing glass with ice, and add equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Stir gently for about 10-15 seconds, then strain the mixture into a chilled glass over ice. Finish by garnishing with an orange peel twist.
The Negroni has a bittersweet taste with a prominent orange note. The gin provides a botanical flavor that pairs well with the sweet vermouth and bitter Campari. The combination creates a balance of sweet and bitter flavors that is refreshing and sophisticated.
Origin and history
The Boulevardier is a classic cocktail that was first created in Paris in the 1920s by an American expat named Erskine Gwynne. He wanted a drink that could match the robust flavor of whiskey that he missed from home, so he swapped the gin in the Negroni for bourbon or rye whiskey.
The Boulevardier has similar components to the Negroni, including Campari and sweet vermouth. However, the primary spirit in the Boulevardier is whiskey, which gives it a richer, smoky flavor. The original recipe calls for equal parts bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari, but you can also use rye whiskey or other types of whiskey.
Preparation and serving
To make a Boulevardier, fill a mixing glass with ice, and add equal parts of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Stir gently for about 10-15 seconds, then strain the mixture into a chilled glass over ice. Finish by garnishing with an orange peel twist.
The Boulevardier is richer and has a smoky, whiskey-forward flavor. The sweet vermouth provides a balanced sweetness that complements the whiskey, while the Campari adds a bitter note that rounds out the drink. The Boulevardier is a more complex cocktail than the Negroni and is ideal for sipping after dinner.
Differences and similarities
The primary difference between the Boulevardier and Negroni is the type of spirit used. The Negroni uses gin, while the Boulevardier uses whiskey. This change in spirit has a significant impact on the flavor profile of the cocktails.
Both the Boulevardier and Negroni require sweet vermouth as an essential ingredient. However, the amount of sweet vermouth can vary depending on the recipe you follow. The Boulevardier typically has a higher proportion of sweet vermouth because whiskey is a more substantial spirit than gin.
The bitter component in both cocktails comes from Campari, a bitter Italian liqueur. The Negroni and Boulevardier require equal parts of Campari, but the difference in spirits changes the overall flavor profile. The Negroni has a more prominent orange note, while the Boulevardier has a smokier, whiskey-forward flavor.
Both cocktails are garnished with an orange peel twist. This garnish adds a pleasing aroma to the drink and also provides a hint of citrus flavor.
Which one to choose?
Choosing between the Boulevardier and Negroni depends on the occasion and setting. The Negroni is a classic cocktail that is perfect for aperitifs. Its refreshing and bittersweet taste awakens the palate and prepares it for food. On the other hand, the Boulevardier is ideal for sipping after dinner. Its smoky and complex flavor profile is a perfect way to unwind and relax.
Personal taste is also an important factor when choosing between the two cocktails. Some people prefer the light and refreshing taste of the Negroni, while others enjoy the robust and smoky flavor of the Boulevardier.
Lastly, both cocktails pair well with food. The Negroni goes well with light and savory dishes like bruschetta, caprese salad, and prosciutto-wrapped melon. The Boulevardier is perfect with hearty dishes like grilled steak, roasted chicken, and braised beef.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Boulevardier and Negroni?
The primary difference between a Boulevardier and a Negroni is the type of spirit used. The Negroni uses gin, while the Boulevardier uses whiskey. The choice of spirit has a significant impact on the flavor profile of the cocktails.
Which cocktail is more popular – the Boulevardier or Negroni?
The Negroni is more popular than the Boulevardier. It is a classic Italian cocktail that has remained relevant for over a century and is widely available in bars and restaurants worldwide.
What are some variations of the Boulevardier and Negroni?
Some popular variations of the Boulevardier and Negroni include the White Negroni, Negroni Sbagliato, and Bourbon Boulevardier. The White Negroni uses gin, Lillet Blanc, and Suze as a substitute for Campari, while the Negroni Sbagliato is made with sparkling wine instead of gin. The Bourbon Boulevardier can be made by substituting rye whiskey or bourbon with scotch or mezcal.
In conclusion, the Boulevardier and Negroni are both classic cocktails with their unique flavor profiles. While they share some similarities, they are remarkably different and should be enjoyed according to personal preferences and occasion. As cocktail bartenders, we recommend trying both and deciding which one is your favorite.