Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Classic Rye Cocktails #6: The Ward Eight

Given that we are in the last week of a presidential campaign, it seems like the perfect time to celebrate America's liquor and political history in one fell swoop.

This one's not that old. Yet it's a classic and it must be included. Especially in these months where daylight grows dim and people require extra Vitamin C in their diet.

There are a few fleeting pre-Prohibition references to the Ward Eight (usually suggesting that the drink was invented in Boston in 1898, at a party for Martin Lomansey, who became the political boss of--you guessed it--the city's Eighth Ward, on the city's West End).

While we reject political machines today, they were an accepted fact of urban life in the United States. The most famous machine systems--Tammany Hall in New York City and the Pendergast crew in Kansas City--peaked in the first-half of the twentieth century. The Daley machine in Chicago, of course, held on much longer.

As problematic as they were, the machines proved effective for the common woman and man because despite corruption and cronyism, they got stuff done and helped integrate new immigrant populations into the life of the city. No wonder rye--the liquor of the people--provides the basis for this drink.

Not until the 1910s did most recipe books include a recipe for the drink. It became especially popular during Prohibition. Because it included strong-tasting fruit juices that served as a useful tool for disguising poorly-distilled or home-brew liquor, drinkers in the 1920s often turned to the citrus-heavy cocktail.

Here's an effective (and tasty) modern version of the drink:

2 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz orange juice
.5 oz lemon juice
three dashes of grenadine

Mix ingredients in a shaker. Add ice. Shake, then strain into a glass.

Savor this one. It's the closest you'll ever get to political office.

3 comments:

SwampApe said...

Interesting drink, but I am not sure it will make it into the regular rotation . . .

SwampApe said...

Oh yeah, one more thing. I will try a Prince of Wales on tuesday because I will have champagne in the house. If Obama wins, it's a celebration, if he does not, I will chug the whole botttle,then wander the streets in search of a Republican and beat him sensless with the empty . . .

evdebs said...

I like this one...in a few months it will be seasonal, cheers