The name of the Ward Eight cocktail has some interesting possible connotations. What could the history of the drink entail? Was there a sanitarium wing that treated heavy tipplers who tended to enjoy this particular drink? Did a church ward make a non-alcoholic drink that was later tainted with demon whisky?
The story isn't quite that exciting, but is fascinating nonetheless. The ward in question is one of the voting districts in Boston. (No bonus points if you can guess which one.)
The history of the drink's creation gets a little muddled. What we do know is that it was created in the late 1800s by a bartender to honor a power-playing politician in Ward 8.
Legend has it that the politician had enough connections (good or otherwise, mostly the latter) that the Ward Eight cocktail was served at his victory party. This wouldn't usually be noteworthy, but the party was held the day before the election.
See Also: How to Make a Horse's Neck Cocktail
The Ward Eight won't come across as an earth-shattering revelation; at its core, it's a twist on a good ol' Whiskey Sour, served straight up. However, there are enough subtle differences that a Ward Eight is worth appreciating on its own.
The Ward Eight is at its best with rye whiskey; you can use bourbon instead, but there are enough other things going on that spicy rye makes its presence known well.
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As far as the rest of the ingredients, the recipe I've listed is as close to a happy medium as I can find. It seems like no two published recipes for a Ward Eight are alike. So, if part of this particular Ward Eight isn't quite to your liking, you are well within your rights to adjust the proportions as you see fit. But at least try it this way first.
Ward Eight 1-1/2 ounces rye whiskey 3/4 ounce lemon juice 3/4 ounce orange juice 1 barspoon pomegranate grenadine
Shake well with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, if desired.