Perhaps the best way to consider your pairing schematics for a Boulevardier is to remember that this is a whiskey cocktail. Vermouth is a supporting player. To this end, you may want to prioritize choosing your whiskey first and foremost, and finding the right vermouth to go alongside it. Perhaps, rather than a spicier bourbon, opt for rye whiskey in bourbon’s place instead. This is an allowable alteration within the confines of the modern Boulevardier. It makes sense for the palate too, with the spicy rye offsetting the sweet vermouth to a stronger degree than most bourbons. Knob Creek Straight Rye at 100 proof is a solid choice.
When selecting the sweet vermouths, please note they can range wildly from syrupy and vanilla-forward to citrus-tinged and light. That’s why some prefer to create a personal blend of vermouths incorporating the qualities of several different contenders.
That’s what Trevor Frye, proprietor of Wash Line LLC and former beverage director of Jack Rose Dining Saloon, puts to use whether at home or behind the bar. He empties out a 750ml bottle and fills it with 10 ounces of Cocchi di Torino, 10 ounces of Gonzalez-Byass Vermouth La Copa, and 5 ounces of Carpano Antica. The result is a versatile blend that won’t overpower. It hits on the best qualities of all three vermouths and is suitable for almost any choice of whiskey.