I wish that I had the energy for a great April Fool’s post, like that at SLOSHED!, but this week has just been brutal.  So I decided to finish out the week with a classic.  Of course, I can never leave well enough alone, so when “Negroni” popped into my head, I immediately thought “Boulevardier”.  Then out came the Aperol and Dolin Blanc, and we were all the way to a different cocktail.  But it’s still basically a Boulevardier in spirit, so I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to rename it.

Boulevardier (Variation)

  • 1 1/2 oz rye whiskey (Redemption)
  • 3/4 oz white vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
  • 3/4 oz Aperol
    Stir with ice, strain into cocktail glasses, garnish with an orange twist.

It is impossible to go wrong with this mixture of ingredients, so this turned out pretty tasty.  The lightness of the Aperol and Dolin Blanc really allowed the nice, slightly gamy rye to shine, resulting in a great aged-base counterpart to the Negroni.  I think I prefer this to the original Boulevardier; it’s both less busy and less syrupy.

The orange that I originally planned to use for garnish provided such miserable peels (no oil at all) that I decided it just needed to be juiced and gotten rid of.  Therefore, I needed a drink to put it in.  Orange juice drinks are always tricky; they tend to be a bit insipid, or, in an attempt to make up that blandness, aggressively alcoholic.  I flipped through Killer Cocktails (Does anyone start humming “She’s a killer cocktail” whenever they read that title?  No?  Just me, then.) until I found the Avec, which David Wondrich presents as a Sidecar variation.  In my opinion the recipe is more of a variation on a Hoop La, but why quibble?

Avec (Killer Cocktails)

  • 1 oz cognac (Bache Gabrielsen Fine)
  • 1 oz kirschwasser (Clear Creek)
  • 1 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
  • 1 oz orange jucie
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
    Shake with ice, strain into glass, garnish with orange peel (and a clove).

This wasn’t bad, but it suffered from the usual complaint of cocktails with a significant amount of fresh-squeezed orange juice.  The Wife suggested punching it up by garnishing with a clove in addition to the orange peel (if we had thought of this before it would have gotten stuck into the orange peel), and this was a significant improvement.  Honestly, with the cherry and the orange it tasted like nothing so much as the up version of a Singapore Sling.  Tasty, but with an odd tension, like it couldn’t decide if it was classically austere or rambunctiously tiki.