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The litany of cocktail recipes out there can seem confusing, but many are just exciting riffs on the drinks that came before. If you memorize a foundational cocktail, a whole world can be uncovered by substituting ingredients for similar ones. The basic formula for a Sour cocktail has been fiddled with to create favorites like the Margarita, the Daiquiri, and the Bee’s Knees. The Ward 8 is a great example of one of these classic variations.
The recipe for a Sour is spirit plus citrus plus sweetener. A traditional Whiskey Sour is made using whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. If you want some extra fun with texture, throw in an egg white, too! The Ward 8 is that same formula, but with different ingredients. The lemon juice is halved and joined by some orange juice and the simple syrup is swapped out for grenadine. When you think of cocktails this way, it’s a lot easier to remember their recipes and dream up your own.
So, where did this particular variation come from? The Ward 8 hails from Boston, Massachusetts, named after one of the city’s voting districts. Its creation is credited to a long time Boston fixture of French fare called the Locke-Ober Café, which closed in 2012. The bartenders there whipped up the drink to commemorate the election of Martin M. Lomasney to the state legislature in 1898. Lomasney had long served as the ward boss of Boston’s eighth ward and his iron grip on the ward’s votes went a long way in delivering him the win in that election.
The Ward 8 hails from Boston, Massachusetts, named after one of the city’s voting districts. Its creation is credited to a long time Boston fixture of French fare called the Locke-Ober Café, which closed in 2012.
There is at least one Boston native who may never have even done so much as sip on a Ward 8: Martin Lomasney himself! Turns out, the celebrated Boston politician, while opposed to Prohibition politically, was personally a teetotaler. So, while the honor of the name would go to Lomasney, the pleasure of drinking the cocktail did not. It’s no matter; the Ward 8 became an enormously popular cocktail across the country, even making Esquire’s list of the Ten Best Cocktails of 1934, along with other classics like the Old Fashioned and the Daiquiri.
The Ward 8 is a fantastic example of what can happen when you take all the lessons learned from those who came before and put your own innovative spin on them. Give one a sip and see what it inspires you to create!