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A Ward 8 and an Update

Posted by Jim Botticelli  August 13, 2013 02:19 PM

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The Cocktail from Boston, The Ward 8
"I have taken out of alcohol more than alcohol has taken out of me." ... Winston Churchill

Pour through the pages of any cocktail history tome and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a distinctive contribution to the art that is Boston’s and Boston’s alone. The Ward 8, however, is a cocktail that did originate in Boston at the recently shuttered Locke-Ober Restaurant. Martin Lomasney, already a mover and shaker in Boston political circles for nearly a half century, was running for state legislature and had just won the seat. Ward 8, now the South End and Roxbury, had reliably delivered for him and its namesake cocktail was said to have been given its maiden voyage at Lomasney's victory dinner. The drink became a local fixture and in 1934 earned a spot on Esquire magazine's Top Ten Cocktails of the Year.

To this day Esquire is still trying to figure out why. Let no misunderstandings arise. The Ward 8, the magazine says, is a fine drink, dry and refreshing. But it's not a cocktail that will alter your drinking habits, nor is it a shortcut to bliss. It is a drink that offers solace to a scorched palate if made properly. Which is why we have included its recipe in our DOB photo.

But wait. There's more! In 2008, local cocktail maven Brother Cleve did a "remix" of the Ward 8 and honored recent history in so doing. The Ninth Ward was created for the annual Tales of the Cocktail convention in New Orleans. The Ninth ward, you may remember, was the section of New Orleans most damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"I wanted to create a drink for the event that would have some sort of New Orleans and Boston connection," Cleve reported. "So my idea was to take the Ward 8, the best-known drink created in Boston, and turn it into a tropical cocktail for New Orleans." 

Dirty Old Boston shares Brother Cleve's original recipe for the Ninth Ward with its readers. Cheers.

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Eagle Rare 10 Year)
3/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz St. Germain
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Original calls for Bulleit Bourbon and Fee's Falernum.

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This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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