So, I can’t believe it’s been three years since I last touched this blog. I kept meaning to, and life got in the way.
Since my most recent post, I’ve been married, graduated from law school and library school, taken my first professional job and moved to a new state, and took my second professional job and moved to another state. I’ve landed in the great city of Kansas City, MO. I’m sure at some point those stories will unfold themselves, but today is not that day.
For those of you gentle readers who have followed the blog off and on for years, thanks for your continued readership. For those of you who are new to the blog, let me start by saying this: a Manhattan is my favorite cocktail. I’ve written about the Boulevardier before, but I don’t care, and I’m going to do it again from a perspective of 5 years, unintentionally, almost to the day.
At the time, I was days away from 27, but as yet still 26, and my liquor palate reflected my age. My review at the time said: “Personally, I can think of a better way to spend $2.62.” With 5 years perspective, I find myself disagreeing with myself.
For those of you who won’t know, the Boulevardier is the love child of a Negroni and a Manhattan. We’ll over the proportions, below, although it’s the same as the proportions in the previous blog post. Part of the reason that I wanted to meditate on the Boulevardier is that much like this version of the Manhattan, I have grown up. Or at least pretended to. One of the challenges that I keep finding is when do I be the fun staid Manhattan of yore, and when, do I instead, become aspire to the aloofness of the Boulevardier. When do you have more depth and more complexity and when do you instead remain lovely but comparatively uncomplex like the Manhattan. And how do you alternate between the two?
Manhattans have found their way onto every bar menu, and frankly, any bartender or cocktail bar worth its salt knows their way around at least one version of this drink. Frankly, I generally judge bars on their Manhattan. At this point, they are for nights with friends in bars who don’t drink cocktails much and follow your lead on the drink order. I’m frequently out with friends, and when I order a Manhattan, first, usually the table follows suit. Manhattans are both fancy but no longer pretentious since they have become so commonplace. Slight caveat: this is specific to cocktail culture. I promise you, if you order a Manhattan when everyone else is drinking a beer, even a craft beer, you’re going to look pretentious. It’s like ordering a steak, ordering it in a French restaurant is fine, but maybe skip the steak at the IHOP.
Boulevardiers, on the other hand, are for different kinds of nights. It’s a drink that causes you to go deeper and look more critically. It adds depth to a world you thought you knew. It’s looking seeing skyscrapers for the first time in the city or the stars for the first time in the country. Of course, you knew that they were there, but you just didn’t know there could be quite so muchness. You had seen stars but not so many, or buildings but not quite so high. Or perhaps I’m merely waxing poetic.
To the drink:
1 1/2 oz. Rye
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
3 drops orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a shaker over ice. Pour into a rocks glass over ice.
The drink caused me to wax poetic, so I’m sure you know how I feel about it by now.
A couple of small differences that I think make a few important differences.
First, add bitters. Bitters make everything better. I prefer orange bitters in this cocktail, but Angostura Bitters and Peychaud’s Bitters. Don’t leave this cocktail bitterless.
Second, on the rocks over a martini glass. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it, but, for me, it’s just a preference.
Third, I know drink better bourbon than I used to. While I still default to a good Jim Bean Manhattan, I think that
The cost to purchase:
Bourbon (I’m currently drinking Bulleit Bourbon): $26 for a 750 mL bottle
Campari: $25 for a 750 mL bottle (According to Total Wine, Campari has gone down in price)
Sweet Vermouth: $10 for a 750 mL bottle
Orange Bitters: $6 for the bottle
Total Cost: $65 if you have no ingredients.
Cost per drink:
Bulleit Rye Bourbon: $1.56
Sweet Vermouth: $0.40
Orange Bitters: $0 (as you know from previous blog posts, I consider bitters an investment but negligible in the cost per drink.)
Total Cost per Drink: $2.90
As always, happy, and safe, drinking.