This is a modern drink. It’s a remix of the classic cocktail, the Boulevardier, which itself it a remix of a Negroni (despite not appearing in print until years after the Boulevardier did). The drink uses Scotch Whisky, Sweet Vermouth, Campari and an Orange Twist. While remaining familiar, it certainly stands on its own. The flavor goes from bright citrus on the nose, then some sweetness. BIG whisky and baking spices in the middle. And a bitter orange finish.
I stumbled upon this drink on Compass Box’s website. It was designed specifically to work with The Spice Tree and it works really well in this one. Spice Tree is a rich, full-bodied blended malt that has strong flavor of baking spices, oak and vanilla. Those spices beat loud and clear in the heart of the drink. The flavor goes from bright citrus on the nose, then some sweetness. BIG whisky and baking spices in the middle. And a bitter orange finish.
The name of the drink refers to the Unholy Alliance of Scotland, France and Italy. The way Spice Tree is made is with Scotch that’s matured in barrels using French caskheads. The intricate process of vatting three sources, aging in four different barrels and vatting again, creates the big flavor profile. So the “alliance” of Scottish whisky, aged in the French cask heads and married with Italian vermouth and Italy’s most famous Amaro, is what the name of the drink is referring to. I like to interpret it as Scottish whisky, a French brand of sweet vermouth and Italian Campari. That way you can have a little leeway with the Scotch.
That being said, the Spice Tree is very hard to substitute. It is certainly the number one choice, but if you have to make a sub for the base spirit, make sure to use a full-bodied blended, non-peated Scotch. If you want to push it a little further and have some patience, you can measure an ounce and a half of your Scotch, drop 3-4 whole cloves into it and let it soak for an hour. Then strain out the cloves and add the infused whisky in your mixing glass. Add the other ingredients. Stir. Strain. Garnish. It won’t be the same thing, but the bootlegged version might work in a pinch.
I like my Negroni served on the rocks, and even though it’s not necessarily accurate to the original recipe, I like my Boulevardier the same way. However, with this one, it’s best served up so that rich, complex flavors don’t get muted by being served over ice.
This is a great twist on a classic. And it has a great name. It’s not just the “Scotch Boulevardier” or the “Scotch Negroni.” It’s the Unholy Alliance and it makes for one hell of an after dinner drink. Cheers!
1.5 oz Scotch
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Campari
garnish Orange Twist
Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with Orange Twist
“Windy City” by Ken Flagg
Featured in this Episode:
Spice Tree Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Nick & Nora Glass
OXO SteeL Double Jigger