I strolled into the bar in a sour, sour, mood. “I’ve been relatively sober for the last two days,” I said. “I think it’s starting to affect my job. I may kill all of my coworkers before this day is out. You better give me something with bourbon in it.”
My bartender thought carefully. “I think I’ve got just the answer. Have you ever had an Old Pal?”
“Can’t say that I have,” I responded. “In fact, I’ve never heard of it. Are you making this up?”
“Not at all. Let’s do this thing”
THE DRINK: The Old Pal.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “THIS PARTICULAR VERSION”? Well, another bartender rounding the horn claims that it should be made with dry vermouth, not sweet. So this may actually be a boulevardier.
I’M CONFUSED. Wikipedia tells us that the Old Pal is “a cocktail made with Canadian Rye Whiskey, French Vermouth (dry), and Campari.”
SO WHAT’S A BOULEVARDIER? “The boulevardier cocktail is similar to the Negroni, replacing the Negroni’s gin component with bourbon whiskey or rye whiskey.”
AND THE NEGRONI? “The Negroni cocktail is made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso (red, semi-sweet), and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel.”
SO THE VERMOUTH IS SWEET… I THINK YOU’VE GOT A BOULEVARDIER. Yeah, I think so too.
REGARDLESS, HOW IS IT? It’s quite good. It has a sweet start, a dry interlude, and a pleasant finishing burn. I could drink more than one, easily.
AND WILL YOU? No, I just wanted to get to the point where I won’t kill my coworkers. I don’t need to actually like them.
DEEP THOUGHTS: In addition to the related cocktails listed above, this also bears a strong resemblance to a Manhattan, with that cocktail’s bitters replaced by Campari. Whatever you call it, it’s all booze. And thus it is a good thing. Just drink it and leave the nomenclature to someone else.