arrel Strength Boulevardier Sour Header

Barrel Strength Boulevardier Sour Cocktail Recipe

In Cocktails by Thomas Fondano2 Comments

Recently while having dinner with my lovely wife at Ava Gene’s in Portland, OR, I encountered a cocktail that actually made me rethink my approach to cocktail creation. It was a Navy Strength Negroni Sour and it was fantastic. Created by Douglas Derrick, it utilizes a Negroni made with Navy Strength gin as the spirit in a sour. Think about that: A cocktail as the spirit base in a cocktail.

The Negroni is my favorite non-whiskey cocktail. The whiskey version of a Negroni is a Boulevardier. Navy Strength gin is usually about 114 proof, which is a similar ABV to several barrel strength bourbons. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Barrel Strength Boulevardier Sour

The first step is to prep a batch of Boulevardier cocktails using the instructions below:

Boulevardier batch (makes 3 cocktails):

  • 2 oz barrel strength bourbon (I used Wild Turkey Rare Breed, but OGD 114 would work too)
  • 2 oz Campari
  • 2 oz sweet vermouth

Once the batched Boulevardier’s are ready, proceed to make the Sour cocktail per the below:

Sour Cocktail:

  • 2 oz batched Boulevardier (from above)
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • Fat ¼ oz 2:1 syrup (dissolve 2 parts sugar in 1 part water)
  • 1 egg white

Shake the Boulevardier, lemon juice, syrup and egg white without ice for 20 seconds to emulsify the whites. Add a large ice cube (2”) and shake for another 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and express the oils of a swath of orange peel over the drink.

arrel Strength Boulevardier Sour Photo

This is a more complex recipe than the 3-ingredient cocktails I usually make at home, but worth the effort. Batching up the Boulevardier is easy and scalable. I often add a bitter element to my whiskey sours, so this is right up my alley.

I regularly drop a half-sized Manhattan in my mug of hot cider, but that’s just boozing up some juice. Where else could one substitute a cocktail for a spirit in a cocktail?

About the Author
Thomas Fondano

Thomas Fondano

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Thomas Fondano has been drinking bourbon and trying every bottling he can get his hands on since last century. While he enjoys all types of whiskeys, bourbon remains his go-to whenever he says, “I need a drink.” He lives with his wife and two children in Portland, Oregon where he makes cocktails every day at 5pm. Read Thomas' full profile.


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    I tried this recipe with a couple small variations: I used Russell’s Reserve single barrel, and I didn’t use the expressed oils of an orange peel. I couldn’t taste the bourbon in the final product. Seemed to me to have too much lemon juice. The “Boulevardier” component though was rather nice.

    1. Thomas Fondano

      Sorry it didn’t workout quite right for you, Tim. Lemons can be pretty variable this time of year (post-season), so you could try again or try with less lemon juice. But you’re right, the Boulevardier on its own is pretty tasty. Cheers!

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