The Boulevardier at Fork & Wrench (Colby Ware/Baltimore Sun )
It's time to brush up on your Prohibition-era swagger, Baltimore.
1920s-era everything has made a comeback in recent years, from fashion to TV and now the Baltimore bar scene. The Fork & Wrench, new to Canton, is high on speakeasy style. Picture lush tapestry-lined bar tables, intimate, low lights and swing and blues wailing from the speakers. The cocktail menu is reflective of the age of jazz: flirty, rich, smooth and daring. But if you're looking for an extensive drink list, go elsewhere. Co-owner Andy Gruver says that the bar plans to keep their list to four or five classic cocktails.
The Boulevardier is the perfect, delicious example of this philosophy. Though there are only three basic ingredients, the drink is rich and complex. American whiskey — here, Pikesville Rye — is cut with Campari, a fruity Italian aperitif, which adds a beautiful red hue to the drink. Sweet vermouth enhances the smoothness of the rye and adds a slight, herbal quality to the taste.
Simple, mellow and (dare I say) sexy, this is a great dinner cocktail.
In the world of classic cocktail culture, think of it like this: if a Manhattan and a Negroni had an affair, the Boulevardier would be their offspring. Not as bitter as a Manhattan but less refined than the gin-based Negroni. In French, the cocktail roughly translates to "man about town."
And the drink surely is that: classy, but not too classy. Approachable but pretentious enough to be charming.
How to Make The Boulevardier
2 ounces rye or Bourbon
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Stir ingredients together in a mixing glass filled with ice; strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest.
Where to Get The Boulevardier
The Fork & Wrench
2322 Boston St., Canton