Ward Eight

Bourbon | Cocktails

Photo of author
Written By cocktailflavors.com
Ward Eight_001


Discover the Ward Eight, a cocktail steeped in history and bursting with a harmonious blend of flavors. This Boston-born beverage is a testament to the art of mixology, offering a perfect balance between sweet and sour with a whiskey base. Engage your senses with this classic concoction that promises to deliver a taste of tradition with every sip.

Whether you’re a whiskey aficionado or a cocktail enthusiast, the Ward Eight is a must-try. Its rich heritage and unique combination of ingredients make it a standout choice for any occasion. Let’s dive into the world of this storied drink and explore what makes it a beloved classic.

Join us as we unravel the layers of the Ward Eight, from its intriguing backstory to the precise art of crafting it. This guide will equip you with all the knowledge you need to mix, taste, and enjoy this timeless cocktail to its fullest.

Key Facts About the Ward Eight

Alcohol Volume: Approximately 22% ABV (44 proof)

Calories: Approximately 180 kcal

Preferred Glass: Chilled cocktail glass

Typical Garnish: Maraschino cherry

Interesting Facts about the Ward Eight

  • The Ward Eight is often considered a cousin to the Whiskey Sour, sharing a similar foundation but with a unique twist.
  • Its creation is attributed to a bartender at Boston’s Locke-Ober Café, where it was first mixed in the late 19th century.
  • The cocktail’s name is said to be a nod to the political ward that helped secure the election victory it was created to celebrate.

Ward Eight Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Ward Eight delivers a robust rye whiskey punch, softened by the citrus notes of lemon and orange. The grenadine offers a subtle sweetness, creating a well-rounded flavor profile. This cocktail is ideal for those who appreciate the depth of whiskey with a refreshing twist.

Perfect for celebrations or a sophisticated evening in, the Ward Eight suits a variety of occasions. Its vibrant hue and complex taste profile make it a conversation starter and a palate pleaser. It’s a drink that can be enjoyed year-round, offering warmth in winter and a citrusy coolness in summer.

History of the Ward Eight

The Ward Eight’s origins are as rich as its flavor. Born in the late 19th century, it’s a cocktail with a story to tell. Created in Boston, this drink quickly became a local legend, symbolizing both celebration and innovation in the world of mixology.

As the tale goes, the Ward Eight was concocted to commemorate a political victory. It’s a drink that not only captures the spirit of its time but also the spirit of Boston’s vibrant history. Over the years, it has maintained its status as a beloved classic, enjoyed by generations of cocktail lovers.

While the exact details of its creation are shrouded in mystery, the Ward Eight’s legacy is undisputed. It stands as a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of bartenders who have kept this cocktail alive through the decades.

Ward Eight Ingredients

  • Rye Whiskey (2 oz / 60 ml): The backbone of the cocktail, providing a spicy and robust flavor.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Adds a zesty tang, balancing the whiskey’s heat.
  • Fresh Orange Juice (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Offers a sweet citrus note, complementing the lemon.
  • Grenadine (1 teaspoon / 5 ml): Gives a hint of sweetness and a rich color to the drink.
  • Maraschino Cherry: A classic garnish that adds a touch of elegance and a sweet finish.

Did you know? The Ward Eight is said to have been the first cocktail to use grenadine as a sweetening agent, setting a trend for future concoctions.

Preparing Ward Eight

Ward Eight Method

Creating the perfect Ward Eight is an art. Begin by chilling your cocktail glass to ensure a refreshing experience. Fill a shaker with ice cubes to build the foundation of your cocktail.

Add the measured rye whiskey, fresh lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine into the shaker. Secure the lid and shake vigorously. The shaker should feel cold to the touch, indicating the ingredients are well-chilled and mixed.

Strain the mixture into your prepared glass, ensuring a smooth pour. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, adding the final touch to this classic drink. Enjoy the fruits of your labor with a sip of history.

Serving Suggestion

The Ward Eight is traditionally served in a chilled cocktail glass. The shape of the glass showcases the drink’s vibrant color and allows the aromas to concentrate, enhancing the tasting experience.

Garnishing with a maraschino cherry not only adds visual appeal but also introduces a subtle sweetness that complements the cocktail’s flavors. It’s a simple yet effective way to elevate the presentation and taste.

Elevating the Ward Eight

  • Experiment with different types of rye whiskey to find your preferred flavor profile. Each brand brings its own character to the cocktail.
  • Consider using freshly squeezed juices for a brighter, more authentic taste. The freshness can significantly impact the overall flavor.
  • For an extra touch of sophistication, try a brandied cherry as a garnish. It adds depth and a hint of luxury to the drink.

Ward Eight Cocktail Served

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Ward Eight

If rye whiskey isn’t your preference, bourbon makes a suitable substitute, offering a sweeter and smoother profile. For a non-alcoholic version, consider using a whiskey-flavored syrup combined with the citrus juices and grenadine.

Similar cocktails include the Whiskey Sour and the Old Fashioned. Both share whiskey as a base and play with the balance of sweet and sour elements.

Add a twist

Infuse your Ward Eight with a herbal note by adding a sprig of thyme or rosemary. These herbs can introduce a new layer of flavor and aroma.

For a spicier kick, a dash of bitters or a slice of ginger can add warmth and complexity to the cocktail. It’s a simple addition that can transform the drink.

Consider rimming the glass with sugar or a mix of sugar and citrus zest. This not only adds flavor but also provides a pleasing textural contrast.

Preferred Liquors for the Ward Eight

When selecting a rye whiskey for the Ward Eight, look for brands that offer a balance of spice and smoothness. Rittenhouse Rye and Bulleit Rye are excellent choices that complement the cocktail’s profile.

For a more premium experience, WhistlePig Rye brings a luxurious depth to the drink. Its rich and full-bodied character makes for an exceptional Ward Eight.

Similar Cocktails to the Ward Eight

If you enjoy the Ward Eight, you might also appreciate the Sazerac, another rye whiskey-based cocktail with a New Orleans twist. Its use of absinthe and bitters offers a complex and aromatic experience.

The Manhattan is another classic that shares the Ward Eight’s whiskey foundation. With sweet vermouth and bitters, it’s a cocktail that’s both sophisticated and timeless.

Food Pairings to go with the Ward Eight

Pair the Ward Eight with savory appetizers like bacon-wrapped dates or blue cheese-stuffed mushrooms. The cocktail’s bold flavors stand up well to rich and umami-packed snacks.

For a sweet pairing, try dark chocolate truffles or candied nuts. The sweetness and texture complement the cocktail’s complexity and provide a delightful contrast.

Ward Eight FAQs

Can I use bottled citrus juices? While fresh is best, bottled juices can be used in a pinch. Just be mindful of the potential difference in flavor intensity.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Ward Eight? Yes, you can create a mocktail version using non-alcoholic whiskey alternatives or flavored syrups.

What’s the best way to garnish a Ward Eight? A maraschino cherry is traditional, but feel free to experiment with other garnishes like citrus twists or brandied cherries.


Ward Eight_001

Ward Eight

The Ward Eight is a classic cocktail hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. It is believed to have been created in 1898 to celebrate a local politician's election victory. This whiskey-based drink is known for its balance of sweet and sour flavors with a hint of orange and grenadine.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Calories 180 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Ice cubes
  • Strainer
  • chilled cocktail glass


  • 2 oz Rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp Grenadine
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish


  • Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  • Add the rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine to the shaker.
  • Shake well until the outside of the shaker feels cold.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


The Ward Eight is often considered a variation of the Whiskey Sour. Adjust the sweetness by varying the amount of grenadine to taste.
Keyword Boston, Classic Cocktail, grenadine, lemon juice, orange juice, Rye, Sweet and Sour, Ward Eight, Whiskey

Leave a Comment