An old whiskey cocktail with simple ingredients that deserves a little more credit than it gets.
The Ward 8 combines rye whiskey with fresh orange juice, tart lemon, and vibrant grenadine for a fruity style whiskey sour.
It has nice balance when made properly, is super easy to make, and has the potential to be a real crowd pleaser at your next cocktail party.
So how do you make a great Ward Eight?
The Ward 8 recipe
At its core the Ward 8 is a classic whiskey sour with grenadine and orange juice substituted for the usual simple syrup.
As with some old cocktails there's debate as to whether or not the drink is any good, but I think when made with the right recipe it's delicious.
The issue is the orange juice.
Lots of recipes call for equal measurements of lemon and orange with just a small splash of grenadine, but lemon juice is too sour to be balanced by the same amount of orange.
Get the orange and grenadine right
Make the Ward 8 with 1/3 oz of each lemon and orange juice to get both citrus flavors coming through. Then use the same measure of grenadine for its dark red fruity sweetness and delicate floral notes for a cocktail that has balance between sweet and zingy.
Upping the amount of grenadine from the standard "splash" creates a great fruity background, plus good quality grenadine is delicious so bring some of that flavor into your drink!
Use Homemade Grenadine!
It is easy to make and will work in lots of other delicious cocktails too.
TIP: Anytime there is orange juice in a cocktail you can also try using clementine or tangerine instead.
They both have more tropical candy orange flavors that are absolutely delicious in cocktails. At Cocktail Bar in Toronto I had a variation on the Ward 8 that used tangerine juice with pomegranate molasses instead of the grenadine which was incredible.
Don't be afraid to experiment a little.
The history behind the Ward 8
As with most cocktail origin stories, it's hard for people to tell whether they are true or not, and for this drink there are multiple conflicting reports on how the drink was first made.
It came from Boston sometime around the turn of the 20th century, but as to who came up with it, or which bar it came from, we will probably never know.
One story goes that it was created by Tom Hussion in 1898 at the Locke-Ober to celebrate the victory of Martin Lomansey, a North Boston politician. But there are also conflicting stories that state the drink was first made at different bars, or by different bartenders, and often have different recipes. According to David Wondrich Tom Hussion didn't even start working at Locke-Ober until 1900, so who knows...
New York had the Manhattan, New Orleans the Sazerac, but Boston did not have an iconic classic cocktail at the time. So whoever did create the Ward Eight made Boston's only classic cocktail recipe.
Ward 8 Cocktail
- 2 oz Rye Whiskey
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/3 oz Orange Juice - or Tangerine
- 1/3 oz Grenadine
- Add all the ingredients to your cocktail shaker.
- Add ice and shake vigorously for about 12 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
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Whip up a batch of homemade grenadine and try out this recipe in place of the standard whiskey sour.