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:
- 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.
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?