Ward 8

Locke-Ober is the third oldest restaurant in Boston and the birthplace of our Drink of the Week. Supposedly invented in 1898 to honor one Martin M. Lomasney for winning the election to a seat in the state’s legislature, the cocktail is named for the city’s Ward 8 which historically supported Lomasney. Although this story is disputed by some, few can deny this is a tasty cocktail.

There is also disagreement on the exact proportions of this drink, but most folks recognize the same ingredients. You occasionally see Canadian Club used as the base spirit, but it really should be rye whiskey. You need a lemon and an orange and a bit of grenadine. We had one of these at the M & S Grill a while back and it was very nicely executed. Some prefer it on the rocks, but we like it served up. How you decide to make yours is up to you.

Ward 8
2 oz rye whiskey
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine

Shake it over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry (optional) and a Massachusetts state flag.

The lemon, orange and grenadine completely mask the bite of the rye. It’s not a sophisticated cocktail, but it tastes good. What else can you ask for with a recipe that dates back over a century? For some, tradition requires that you garnish the Ward 8 with a state flag. These picks are not exactly easy to come by, so if you happen to love Boston, Massachusetts and you want your cocktail to look authentic, click on the flag image below for a PDF file you can print and make a bunch of these for a party. Print them on adhesive label paper, or cut them out of regular paper, fold them over and tape them to toothpicks.

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Rob Marais
Rob Marais

Hey Randy, thanks for featuring this awesome Boston cocktail! If anyone is tempted to travel to Boston for a Ward 8, however, it’s best to skip the birthplace of the Ward 8 (Locke-Öber) and go to one of our better mixology bars, such as Drink, Eastern Standard or the Bar at Clio.

Randy
Randy

Good point, Rob. I should have made that clear. Though it may have history, it’s probably not the place to go for this drink!

John
John

Is it possible there’s a typo in this one Mr. Sips?

With 1 teaspoon of grenadine we didn’t match the happy pink color in the above picture. Further, the drink seemed tart. We added a TABLESPOON of grenadine and got to a much happier color and taste.

Sadly, we did not make flags.

Randy
Randy

Lemons, oranges and homemade ingredients can vary. The fact that you are adjusting to balance the taste is what it’s all about!

Did you use a rye whiskey? That can affect the color too. But, did you like the drink?

John
John

We did use rye whiskey.

Once we dialed the grenadine up, I liked it just fine. As per usual, my glass developed a leak.

Randy
Randy

As for typos, I stand by my teaspoon, although there’s more than one recipe for this drink. I do know it should be rye, and it should have orange juice, otherwise it’s just a whiskey sour with grenadine. So, I think you have the ingredients covered. It’s more a question of taste. According to David Wondrich, the sharpness of the rye mixes with the tang of lemon and the orange sweetness. In other words, the liquor hides behind those flavors, but I agree with your assessment because balance is still important. I tend to like my sours less sweet anyway,… Read more »

scotch calories
scotch calories

Very interesting website! Do you know how many calories there is in whiskey?

Randy
Randy

It depends on several factors but the most important is the % alcohol by volume. I have seen figures between 55 and 70 calories per fluid ounce. Higher proof has more calories.