If you want an example of how much a single ingredient change can impact a cocktail, then I recommend making a Negroni and a Boulevardier at the same time, and taking a sip of each. Both drinks rely heavily on Campari (an Italian bitter liqueur) and sweet vermouth for their flavor, but the difference is still significant. The gin-based Negroni is lighter, more floral tasting, and somehow more summery. The bourbon-based Boulevardier (pronounced “boo-leh-var-dee-eh”) is a different beast, oaky, deep, with more of an autumnal feel to it.
This is a good one to make at home. Bourbon and sweet vermouth should obviously be in your home bar, and a bottle of Campari’s not a bad expenditure either. It’ll only set you back about twenty bucks, and it’ll last quite a while. At least until, like the Italians, you develop a taste for it and start sipping it on the rocks!
Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.