The Ward 8 cocktail is a Boston drink, first invented at the historic though recently defunct Locke-Ober restaurant on Winter St, which opened in 1875 and closed in 2012. For a time, it was the third-oldest restaurant in Boston.
Ward 8 Cocktail: Boston’s Historic Drink
The drink itself is named for a former political district in Boston’s old West End, which now sits between the TD Garden where the Celtics play, and Massachusetts General Hospital. It borders the historically Italian North End of Boston where the Old North Church of Paul Revere fame is also located on it’s eastern edge, and the architecturally preserved wealthy enclave of Beacon Hill on it’s southern edge. Today there’s not much left of the neighborhood, as it’s nearly all been converted to institutional and commercial use.
But at the turn of the 20th century, the West End of Boston was an Irish stronghold ruled by a political boss named Martin Lomasney. Lomasney was a state senator, state representative, and general dealmaker in the city for nearly 50 years. As legend has it, the drink was created at Locke-Ober during a celebration for his election win in 1898 for state legislature. Funny to learn then that Lomasney was a teetotaler (he didn’t drink) and probably never tasted the drink himself.
Ward 8 Cocktail Review
There’s no “right” spec for the Ward 8, though Death & Co. tends to stick with the majority on their spec, using rye instead of bourbon or Scotch. It’s a solid drink, with a crazy opaque brown color and viscous texture. The flavor of the rye still shines, though I admit I subbed the Overholt with Rittenhouse since that’s all I had. The pomegranate molasses is an interesting decision here; the drink usually calls for regular ol’ grenadine. As ingredients go, pomegranate molasses is very thick and very sour so even a teaspoon contributes in a big way to the taste. The half ounce of simple makes a dent, but in general this is a very tart drink. If you were to sub grenadine in place of the pomegranate molasses, you’d also do well to drop the simple syrup and maybe even amp up the lemon juice by another quarter of an ounce to replicate the overall effect.
Rating: 4 / 5
Ward 8 Cocktail (adapted from Death & Co.)
- 2 oz Rye (Old Overholt)
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Orange Juice
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 tsp Pomegranate Molasses
Shake everything with ice then strain into a coupe. No garnish.