What: The boulevardier
Where: Cuistot, 72595 El Paseo, Palm Desert
How much: $14
Contact: 760-340-1000; cuistotrestaurant.com
Why: It’s a perfect version of an underrated cocktail.
It’s time the boulevardier gets the respect it deserves.
If you’re unfamiliar with this classic cocktail, here’s some learnin’ for ya: It’s like a negroni, but with bourbon or rye whiskey in place of the gin. It was supposedly invented in the 1920s by a dude named Erskine Gwynne, an American socialite who was hanging out in Paris—and Mr. Gwynne is now a hero of mine, because the boulevardier became my favorite cocktail during the pandemic.
I prefer two parts of bourbon to one part each of Campari and sweet vermouth, because, well, I like bourbon. The resulting drink is sweet, but not cloying; oaky, but not obnoxious; and just a little bitter, but in a good way.
One recent Saturday night, the hubby and I decided to celebrate some work accomplishments with a nice meal at Cuistot. Because we have not been dining out all that much in recent months because of, well, you know, I have not ordered that many boulevardiers at restaurants … but when I have, it hasn’t always gone well. Even at places that should know better, I’ve gotten confused stares and befuddled responses from servers and bartenders alike. And then there was that time at a restaurant that shan’t be named when I told the server exactly what the bartender should do (there are only three ingredients, after all), and the drink I received tasted like a watered-down old fashioned.
So when I ordered a boulevardier at Cuistot—the drink is not on their cocktail menu, by the way—I did so with a degree of anxiety. Well, I had nothing to be anxious about.
The server nodded knowingly at my request, and the cocktail that soon arrived at our table was, in a word, perfection.