The Ward 8 is one of the less well-known drinks invented during the fifty years or so prior to Prohibition, what’s sometimes called the Golden Age of Cocktails. Supposedly it was named for the Boston administrative area that helped to deliver the winning votes for Martin Lomansey, one of the city’s best known and longest serving Democratic political bosses. In fact, the drink was so tied to state politics that it was originally garnished with a tiny Massachusetts state flag. A cocktail with orange juice in it isn’t exactly something I imagine being consumed in the smoke-filled rooms of pre-Prohibition political machines. Chances are good that it wasn’t, but I’m sure a free one (or three) helped sway a few votes mister Lomansey’s way.
I’ve discovered that for any cocktail with grenadine in it, the type of grenadine used really impacts the quality of the drink (and potentially any hangover the following day). We’ve already done the hard part for you by running down the best grenadines. Look specifically for those that say “true grenadine” or something along those lines, and by all means avoid the stuff that looks like Kool-Aid (ahem, Rose’s). For this one, I actually used a grenadine not on our recent list from Washington, D.C.’s Pratt Standard (which ranks right up there with the best we’ve tasted, full reviews are coming soon). Orange juice can be your standard store-bought stuff, but fresh squeezed will really make this one shine. Put it all together with a little lemon juice and your favorite mixing rye, and you’ve got a summery whiskey cocktail that goes down far too easy. Enjoy!
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. grenadine syrup
1 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. lemon juice
Shake all ingredients well over ice. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a cocktail cherry and orange peel (or the little state flag of your choosing).