Friday @ 5: A cocktail to kick off the weekend

Frank Janisch, left, and Frank Smieszny, employees of the Schoenhofen Brewery, 1900 W. Eighteenth St., drink a last bottle of near-beer before attacking the stacks of crates behind them, ready for the real stuff after Prohibition was repealed in 1933 Herald and Examiner photo.

There's a lot going on this weekend in the wonderful world of cocktails.

Today we welcome the first Friday @ 5 of autumn. Naturally, we should toast the change of seasons with a brown liquor, as is tradition.

But which?

Bourbon. It's the obvious tribute given that today marks the close of National Bourbon Heritage Month -- which is not a marketing ploy, but a legitimate U.S. Senate resolution passed in August 2007 designating September as such.

You can thank Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) for that.

In completely unrelated news, this Sunday welcomes the long awaited debut of documentarian Ken Burns' "Prohibition," which airs on PBS in three parts (!) as the thing is 5 1/2 hours long. A handful of commemorative private and public events have been staged around town over the past few weeks, including a Prohibition Party Oct. 2 at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar (which has adopted a titular "Speakeasy" for the occasion).

If you've marked all three "Prohibition" air dates on your calendar like some people we know,  chances are you're probably going to go through more than one cocktail during the course of it.

To get you started, enter today's cocktail: The Boulevardier.

Available by name at Bar Deville among any other local establishments, the classic cocktail is rooted deep in Prohibition in that it was borne overseas in the mid-1920s, an epoch when American expats were thick as thieves. Harry MacElhone of Harry's New York Bar in Paris allegedly named the drink after frequent patron (and fellow New York expat) Erskine Gwynne Jr., who began publishing his "New Yorker"-inspired magazine, "The Boulevardier," around the same time.

This is Gwynne's favorite drink, as adapted from MacElhone's 1927 recipe book, "Barflies and Cocktails." If you like negronis but aren't all that fond of gin, this one's for you.

The Boulevardier

1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce sweet vermouth
Orange peel for essence, twisted over finished drink



In a mixing glass with ice, combine bourbon, Campari and vermouth; stir until well chilled and strain into a cocktail glass sans ice. Twist orange peel directly over finished cocktail to capture essence.