“Guaranteed to put a tarantula to sleep for a year…”

by Kim Steele


The Boulevardier


This Boulevardier is liquid. An august and potent example of Prohibition Era ex-patriot is this cocktail concoction.  Harry MacElhone, former bartender at The Plaza in New York moved along to Ciro’s in London,then  in Deauville, and ultimately at Tod Sloan’s New York Bar in Paris.

In 1923 he purchased the bar at 5, Rue Daunou, between the Avenue de l’Opéra and the Rue de la Paix in Paris, added his name, “Harry’s New York Bar,” and so the legend began. Deemed by many as the world’s most famous bar, not to be confused with the ‘other Harry’s Bar’ in Venice owned by Harri Ciproitti. It is also the birthplace of other classically memorable cocktails: the the Monkey Gland, the Bloody Mary, the French 75, and the Side Car. Clientele over the years has included: Knute Rockne, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Bill Tilden, Coco Chanel, Jack Dempsey, Aly Khan, Rita Hayworth, Humphrey Bogart, and the Duke of Windsor.


The Boulevardier, appeared in Harry’s 1927 bar guide, Barflies and Cocktails. The Boulevardier’s cousin, the Negroni substitutes bourbon in lieu of gin. Literary man-about-town, Arthur Moss, one of Harry’s main expat cronies wrote about a particular cocktail, “One part pulque, two parts tequilla (sic), one part brandy and a dash of liquid marijuana; this … is guaranteed to put a tarantula to sleep for a year.”


Barflies and Cocktails


The Boulevardier cocktail, sometimes mistakenly called a whiskey Negroni, predates the Negroni by at least 20 years. A subtle combination of bourbon, sweet vermouth and Campari, this is both an easy cocktail to prepare and a sophisticated drink. You want to try it, now don’t you? Post a comment for our Boulevardier’s Taste Test!

  • 1 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari
  • orange twist


  1. In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients
  2. Add ice
  3. Stir vigorously for 30 seconds
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with an orange twist

The Boulevardier’s parts

Nancy FitzGerald September 23, 2011 at 9:00 am

Thanks for the inspiration, which led me to discover a sensationally perfect French 75 in the cozy Burritt Room–where you never know what memorable concoction or conversation might come out of the well-worn woodwork next.

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