If you're into thinkin' and drinkin'

Episode 38: When Good Americans Die… – The Boulevardier

Oscar Wilde said, “When good Americans die, they go to Paris”.  Not long after, many Americans came to Europe and died in the first World War.  When the war ended many Americans stayed in Europe, often the more intellectual set of writers and artists including Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Dos Passos.  At the time they were discovering the art and culture of their ancestors and a way of life devoted to experiencing the world’s richness, the United States was collapsing in on itself in a schizophrenic panic over loose morals and Communist/anarchist immigrants.  No, the Americans, who had just survived the horrors of war, didn’t want to go home to that.  In this way, they also died as “good” Americans.  Instead, they stayed in Paris and created cocktails.

This episode features another Campari drink with one of the fancier cocktail names: The Boulevardier. This cocktail led us down in an interesting historical path, or maybe a boulevard as it were (Thank you, I will be here all night!). Common consensus points to this originating from one of our oft-mentioned bartenders, Harry McElhone from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Harry’s book Barflies and Cocktails (1927) connects the drink to Erskine Gwynne: journalist, novelist, American socialite with ties to the Vanderbilts, and temporary ex-pat in Paris who created a magazine, titled: Boulevardier.

Join us as we discuss the Boulevardier and its Paris origins. We also dive into the semi-strange life of Erskine Gwynne, and Harry McElhone’s military past that may explain why so many of the Lost Generation ended up as denizens of his bar.

The recipe is:

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth

Transition music: Cephalopod by Kevin MacLeod
Closing Music: Boulevard Montvert by Rein

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