Skip to Content

Boulevardier vs Old Fashioned: What’s the Difference?

Summary of key points

The main difference between a Boulevardier and an Old Fashioned is in their base spirit. A Boulevardier is made with bourbon, while an Old Fashioned is typically made with whiskey or rye.

In terms of ingredients, both cocktails also include sweet vermouth and bitters, but a Boulevardier uses Campari instead of the traditional sugar cube used in an Old Fashioned.

In terms of taste, a Boulevardier has a bolder and more bitter flavor profile compared to the slightly sweeter and smoother taste of an Old Fashioned. Both cocktails offer a classic and timeless sip, with slight variations in flavor for different preferences.

Boulevardier and Old Fashioned. Both classics. Yet, not the same.

We dig into their history. Curious mix of whiskey, vermouth, and Campari versus whiskey, sugar, and bitters.

We’ve tried them all. Multiple times, for science. You get the rich, bold flavors with each, yet each sip tells a different story.

Boulevardier? Imagine Paris in a glass. Old Fashioned? Pure Americana.

We argue over favorites. Our verdict? Why choose.

Both drinks pack a punch. Both embody sophistication.

In our quest, we’ve laughed and maybe spilled a bit. Join us on this flavorful odyssey.

What is a Boulevardier?

A Boulevardier is a classic concoction that emerged in Paris during the early 20th century.

It’s a sophisticated and stylish beverage featuring whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

Know these facts about the Boulevardier:

  • It’s related to the Old Fashioned; both use whiskey as the base.
  • However, the Boulevardier uses bourbon or rye whiskey plus sweet vermouth and Campari.
  • This mix of ingredients produces a complex, balanced flavor–bitter and sweet.
  • It’s usually stirred over ice in a chilled glass or over a large ice cube.
  • It’s garnished with a twist of orange peel for citrusy aromas.
  • Its unique combination of flavors appeals to whiskey lovers and bittersweet libation fans alike.

In conclusion, the Boulevardier is an elegant cocktail combining the boldness of whiskey with the sweetness of vermouth and bitterness of Campari.

Its unique flavor makes it ideal for cocktail aficionados who want something different.

Salud to enjoying this classic drink.

What is an Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is an iconic classic.

It dates back to the 19th century and is still popular today.

This drink is known for its simplicity and balance.

It’s made with whiskey, sugar, and bitters.

Topped with an orange peel and cherry, it has a touch of sweetness and citrus aroma.

It’s also versatile.

Bourbon whiskey is traditionally used, but variations with rye whiskey or brandy are popular too.

This allows for personalization based on individual tastes.

The preparation method is also unique.

Unlike other cocktails, it’s built directly in the glass.

Start by muddling the sugar cube or simple syrup with bitters.

Next, add whiskey and ice, and stir gently to incorporate all the ingredients.

Perfect balance achieved.

Differences Between Boulevardier and Old Fashioned

The Boulevardier and Old Fashioned are two classic cocktails, yet they differ.

Garnishing them is different too.

People garnish a Boulevardier with an orange twist or cherry.

An Old Fashioned can be garnished with a cherry or orange slice.

Origin and History

The Boulevardier and Old Fashioned cocktails have caught the attention of fans with their backgrounds.

The Boulevardier, made from bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari, was created during the Prohibition period.

It impressed Americans with its bitter flavor.

The Old Fashioned, made from whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a hint of citrus zest, dates back to the 19th century.

Although they have some similar ingredients, such as bourbon or whiskey, these two drinks have different flavors and cultural ties.

The Boulevardier’s combination of Campari’s red hue and bitterness, together with the richness of bourbon and sweetness of vermouth, creates a complex yet enjoyable drink.

The Old Fashioned, however, uses bitters and muddled sugar to add complexity to the whiskey’s natural flavors.

These cocktails also differ in their cultural background.

The Boulevardier is linked to Parisian ex-pats during the early 20th century.

It is associated with literary figures like Ernest Hemingway and F.

Scott Fitzgerald, providing a sense of bohemianism and adventure.

The Old Fashioned, on the other hand, is linked to craft bartending in American taverns.

It pays tribute to timeless values, while also allowing modern interpretations.

Ingredients Used

The Boulevardier and Old Fashioned have key differences.

They both use whiskey and bitters, but that’s where their similarities end.

The Boulevardier, a 1920s Paris invention, has whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari.

The Campari brings a bitter flavor, balanced by the sweetness of the vermouth.

The Old Fashioned has a simpler approach.

It’s whiskey, sugar or simple syrup, water/soda water and Angostura bitters.

This way the whiskey’s natural flavors come through.

The sugar/syrup adds sweetness and the bitters add complexity.

In conclusion, these two cocktails provide distinct experiences.

The Boulevardier offers a complex, bitter-sweet blend whilst the Old Fashioned aims to showcase the whiskey’s natural flavors.

Flavor Profile and Taste

The Boulevardier and the Old Fashioned cocktails look similar, but have different flavors.

The Boulevardier is bold and complex, with sweet and bitter notes.

It has bourbon or rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

This cocktail appeals to those who like strong drinks.

The Old Fashioned has a more balanced and mellow taste.

It’s made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar cube or simple syrup, bitters, and a citrus twist.

This makes a sweet and bitter blend.

This classic cocktail is known for its smoothness and timeless appeal.

These drinks are unique in their own way.

The Boulevardier has Campari, an Italian bitter liqueur.

This adds complexity to the drink and makes it more sophisticated.

The Old Fashioned is simple.

Its recipe focuses on the flavors of the whiskey, with a hint of sweetness from the sugar or syrup.

This lets the spirit’s natural flavors shine.

Preparation and Serving Style

Two classic cocktails, Boulevardier and Old Fashioned, differ in many ways.

To make a Boulevardier, you must stir rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and Campari with ice.

Strain it into a chilled glass and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

For an Old Fashioned, muddle sugar and bitters in a glass.

Then add whiskey or bourbon.

Stir with ice until chilled.

Garnish with an orange twist or cherry.

This makes them distinct in preparation and presentation.

Similarities Between Boulevardier and Old Fashioned

The Boulevardier and Old Fashioned appear alike at first.

Both drinks are made with whiskey, giving them a robust flavor.

However, they differ in some ways.

For instance, the Boulevardier has Campari – an Italian bitter liqueur.

This adds bitterness to the cocktail, balancing out the whiskey and vermouth.

The Old Fashioned is simpler, using just bitters and sugar to enhance the whiskey’s natural flavors.

Presentation-wise, the Boulevardier is usually served in a chilled glass.

The Old Fashioned is generally over ice, in a lowball glass.

Plus, garnishes vary.

The Boulevardier often has an orange twist or cherry.

For an Old Fashioned, it’s usually a citrus peel twist plus a cherry or orange slice.

Both drinks are stirred with ice.

Boulevardier vs Old Fashioned: Which One to Choose?

Which one to pick – an Old Fashioned or a Boulevardier? Stumped? Both have unique characteristics.

An Old Fashioned is a classic bourbon-based cocktail.

The Boulevardier’s twist? Whiskey or rye.

Your choice depends on your taste.

The Old Fashioned stands the test of time.

Simply made with bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, Angostura bitters, and a twist of citrus peel.

Served over ice, this smooth yet robust mix of sweetness and spice will make you swoon.

Muddle the sugar and bitters, add whiskey, garnish with an orange peel or maraschino cherry.

The Boulevardier’s Campari gives it a bold flavor.

The Italian liqueur and sweet vermouth add notes of bitterness.

A reddish hue, this balanced mix has a touch of adventure.

Similar ingredients, totally different tastes.

The Boulevardier has a bitter profile.

The Old Fashioned focuses on the whiskey.

It all comes down to personal preference.

An Old Fashioned for a timeless, refined cocktail.

The Boulevardier for something more daring.

Pick your pleasure.

Other Classic Whiskey Cocktails to Explore

Discover the diverse selection of classic whiskey cocktails.

  • There’s the Mint Julep, a refreshing mix of bourbon, sugar, water, and mint leaves, perfect for the Kentucky Derby.
  • Or the New Orleans-born Sazerac with rye whiskey, absinthe rinse, Peychaud’s bitters, and a sugar cube.
  • Then there’s the timeless Whiskey Sour, made with whiskey (usually bourbon), lemon juice, and simple syrup with a maraschino cherry garnish.
  • And finally, the Rusty Nail, a smooth blend of Scotch whisky and Drambuie liqueur.

Explore these unique drinks and all their flavors and history.

Each cocktail offers something new and exciting. So don’t hesitate.

Try them at your next social gathering or when experimenting at home.

Expand your palate and discover the enchanting world of classic whiskey cocktails today.


As you’ve now learned, there is one main difference between the Boulevardier and Old Fashioned cocktails – the inclusion of Sweet Vermouth in a Boulevardier.

But beyond that, these two drinks have even more commonalities than differences.

Both use whiskey and bitters as their base ingredients, giving them a bold flavor profile each time.

Adding in sugar or sweetener gives the sweetness that helps to balance out the flavors as well.

Whether you prefer an Old Fashioned or Boulevardier is up to personal preference – both are great choices when you want a classic cocktail experience.

With minimal ingredients required they are also both easy to prepare.

With an understanding of what makes each drink unique, you can now enjoy confidently, whichever your choice may be.

Boulevardier vs Old Fashioned: What’s the Difference?

Dive into the nuances of classic cocktails with a quick guide on Boulevardier vs. Old Fashioned. Explore the key distinctions between these two iconic drinks and enhance your mixology knowledge.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Boulevardier
  • Old Fashioned


  • Choose between a Boulevardier and an Old Fashioned based on your taste preference.
  • For a Boulevardier, combine 1.5 oz bourbon, 1 oz Campari, and 1 oz sweet vermouth in a glass with ice. Stir and garnish with an orange twist.
  • For an Old Fashioned, muddle a sugar cube with a few dashes of bitters in a glass. Add 2 oz bourbon and ice, stir, and garnish with an orange slice and cherry.
  • Sip and savor the distinct flavors of your chosen cocktail, whether it’s the bold and bitter Boulevardier or the classic and simple Old Fashioned.
  • Experiment with variations and find your perfect cocktail balance. Enjoy responsibly!
Keyword Boulevardier vs Old Fashioned
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating