The Ward Eight

An excellent embodiment of the Whiskey Sour, this is essentially Embury’s Ward Eight, though he preferred bourbon to rye. The ratios are a bit inconvenient — 1/4 ounce of orange juice is a vanishingly small portion of an orange — but it’s worth it. If you’re put off, consider the merits of a double, or even a pitcher’s worth if you have compatriots to assist with the disposition.

2 oz. Wild Turkey 101 rye
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. orange juice
1/4 oz. grenadine

shake with cracked ice and strain

For some reason I had always imagined the titular Ward Eight to be a psychiatric unit housing a straightjacketed Harvey Wallbanger, but the traditional story has it being named by a Boston politician in honor of his district. The earliest recipe on my bookshelf is found in Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, but HotWired’s venerable (and busted) Cocktail site dated its nominal creation to 1898, from the hands of Tom Hussion at Boston’s Locke-Ober Café.

Be aware that this is, perhaps, the booziest Ward Eight of all the recipes out there — some call for equal parts! — so your mileage when ordering from unknown bartenders will definitely vary.

5 thoughts on “The Ward Eight”

  1. Get thee a set of measuring spoons that include a tablespoon (1/2 oz.) and a half tablespoon (1/4 oz.). Spoons are more convenient for measuring tiny amounts; also one is less likely to slop in too much. Lacking flair, but then only your cocktail shaker will know.

    Measures in both weight and volume when the amounts are a small still maintains accuracy.

  2. Ack. I respectfully disagree re: spoons… I have a hell of a time pouring precisely from a 750ml. bottle into a spoon and much prefer the convenience of little multi-unit measuring glasses, marked in milliliters, teaspoons, tablespoons and ounces. My only complaint is that mine are only 1 1/2 oz., not 2, and lack a 3/4 oz. line, requiring me to pour two 1 oz. measures in place of a single 2, or a 1/4 and a 1/2 in lieu of a single 3/4 oz pour.

    No, the business about the annoyingly small portion of OJ wasn’t to do with having to measure 1/4 ounce, but rather that juicing an orange for the use of a mere 1/4 oz is enough to give a solitary mixer pause. I’ll do it, but sometimes I think “I should just mix a drink calling for more orange juice, or find one calling for none of it.” Much less of a concern when you’re serving several at once.

  3. Ah, I see what the issue is re the orange juice. But leftover fresh juice CAN be stored for several days (especially if it is strained), or lobbed into the container of breakfast OJ.

    Ingredients used in small quantities tend to come in small, not 750 ml, bottles. Squinting at measures in a glass jigger is a pain, but using a two-sided jigger, which is available in a 1 1/2 oz. and 3/4 oz. combo BTW, is much easier.

    We find a digital scale best of all. But still resort to spoons, or the two-sided jigger, when more convenient.

  4. Wow. A digital scale! Don’t think I’ve seen any drink recipes but yours with quantities given by weight. I imagine that most liquors are pretty similar in density, but would think that you’d see a fair bit of variation between liqueurs, say from one curaçao to another.

    I think, though, that I shall be sticking with my well-graduated jigger — spoons and two-sided jiggers lend themselves to spillage, in my hands at least. I’m fairly adept, and more comfortable pouring to a line with some headspace in the measuring vessel.

    And re: the leftover OJ, it’s not really so much a practical problem as merely a mental barrier… it doesn’t go to waste, certainly. Unlike, say, lemon juice, I will happily throw back a few extra ounces of orange juice when there’s a remainder.

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