It may not have totally come through on this site yet, but I’m a big Campari fan – and any bitter amaro for that matter,.
The negroni is one of my go to drinks, and when I’m making stuff at home it’s probably drink that I’ll riff off the most.
Because it’s easy.
One ounce spirt.
One ounce vermouth.
One ounce amaro.
The possibilities are endless, and I’ve worked through some fantastic variations using ingredients like Mezcal, Smith and Cross rum, Cynar – and many more.
But arguably the most common sibling the negroni? The boulevardier.
This drink simply switches out the gin for whiskey – and it’s bitter and fantastic.
The Union Club Cocktail from Canon
So given my love for Campari, the negroni, and yes, the boulevardier, I was particularly excited to come across a drink called the Union Club.
It was post by a gentleman named David in a cocktail facebook group I’m apart of, that was started by the fantastic team from A Bar Above.
When he described it as a “brighter boulevardier” I got excited to give it a shot.
But, it was the last part of his post that turned it into “I have to make this right now.”
The drink was originally created by James Boudreau the guy behind the bar Canon in Seattle.
I’d only visited once, but it was a phenomenal bar experience, and was my first introduction to Plantation Pineapple rum, and subsequently the Stiggins Daiquiri, which is one of the best drinks on the planet as far as I’m concerned.
So to see a “brighter boulevardier,” from one of my favorite bars, and be a drink I happened to have all the ingredients for?
It would have been irresponsible of me not to make it!
How to Make the Union Club Cocktail
It’s a very simple drink composed of 2 ounces bourbon, 1.5 oz orange juice, .5 oz of Campari, and .5oz maraschino.
Combine, shake, and strain.
And I’ve gotta say, the results were not what I was expecting.
The drink was much more complex than I expected it to be, and also more spirit driven than I thought it would be.
I expected the orange juice to add a bit more sweetness, but instead got a great tangy flavor, that wasn’t too tart by any means, but wasn’t overly sweet either.
A description of a “brighter boulevardier” I think was apt for this, but it also felt more interesting than the standard drink, and was definitely not nearly as dominated by Campari bitterness.
If you’re not a fan of Campari, then I’m still not totally sure if you’d like this drink, but the bourbon shines through well – so it’s definitely worth a shot for whiskey drinkers.
I used a local Oregon bourbon from Heritage, but frankly I think my go to inexpensive cocktail bourbon, Buffalo Trace, would be even better.
You don’t see orange juice being used all that often in craft cocktails, but it worked in this, and even with 1.5oz it really didn’t taste like OJ.
With this drink, I also did something else I’d never done before, which was shake with one large ice cube.
Wow, I was surprised at what a difference it made. It added a creamy, silky texture that you rarely see in drinks without egg white. I’m excited to do more of it with other drinks.
Should You Make The Union Club Cocktail?
Absolutely. Give it only had 4 ingredients this drink was more complex than I expected, and I found myself enjoying it more and more with each sip.
If you like boulevardiers, Campari, or bourbon forward drinks – then I have a feeling you’ll love the Union Club.
I actually didn’t know about the book until I was doing a bit of research on this drink, and promptly bought it off Amazon.
Union Club Cocktail
- Cocktail Shaker
- Hawthorne Strainer
- Large Ice Cube Tray
- Coupe Glass
- 2 oz Bourbon (I recommend Buffalo Trace)
- 1.5 oz Fresh Orange Juice
- .5 oz Campari
- .5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
- Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker
- Add one large ice cube
- Shake until cold
- Double strain using Hawthorne strainer and chinois into coupe glass.