• May 10, 2017

Cocktail of the Week: Ward 16

Alexis Jesup

According to cocktail history buffs, the Ward 8 is often considered the Boston cocktail. The local classic, which blends rye with orange, lemon, and grenadine, was first shaken up in 1898 at the legendary Locke-Ober restaurant (now Yvonne’s).

A modern rendition is now served at the bar of Boston Harbor Distillery, renamed for the actual ward (16) the distillery calls home. But it’s more than just a change in name: This new take boosts its citrus profile by introducing lime juice to the mix.

“In just a little splash, we change it from the Ward 8 to the Ward 16,” says Stephen Stanton, ambassador and bartender at Boston Harbor Distillery.

Another diversion from the classic recipe lies in the addition of grenadine. Traditionally, the syrup is shaken with the rest of the ingredients, resulting in a homogenous, pinkish-orange color. Instead, Stanton excludes grenadine from the shaking process, using a splash to top the drink. This topper is really a sinker, as the heavier grenadine syrup settles at the bottom of the glass, giving the drink an ombré tinge: deep red below, bright and citrusy above.

Naturally, the Ward 16 makes use of a Boston Harbor Distillery spirit: Putnam New England Rye. Notable for being made with 95 percent rye, the prominence of the grain in its mash bill gives the liquor a spicy kick that pairs well with fruit and stands up to all that citrus.

It’s a single-serving punch—citrusy, easy-drinking, but definitely boozy. It’s got enough of a rye presence to hold the interest of whiskey seekers, plus bright, refreshing flavors to win over the Tom Collins crowd.

“It’s a nice stepping stone for those getting into whiskey,” Stanton says.

Ward 16
2 ounces Putnam New England Rye Whiskey
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce orange juice
Splash of grenadine
Lemon wedge, for garnish

Combine rye and juices in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into rocks glass with ice. Top with grenadine and garnish with lemon wedge.

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