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The Ward Eight


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14 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 03:05 PM

I'm finding myself increasingly interested in the vagaries of classic cocktail recipes, and the Ward Eight is a good case in point. (It's also a good case in point for illustrating the vagaries of classic cocktail histories, but I'm not going there.) cocktaildb.com lists four of them:

1.
1 1/2 oz bourbon or rye
1 oz lemon
1 tsp sugar
1/4 oz grenadine

2.
3/4 oz bourbon
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz grenadine

3.
2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz grenadine

4.
1 3/4 oz bourbon
1/2 oz grenadine
1/4 oz white creme de menthe
1 dash orange bitters

Meanwhile, over on Esquire.comDave Wondrich goes for

5.
2 ounces rye
3/4 ounce lemon
3/4 ounce orange
1 teaspoon grenadine

Paul Clarke also has the same recipe on Serious Eats. It's sort of a variation of #2 above but with much more booze -- a needed adjustment, I'd think, given the OJ.

Way back in 1962, Gourmet dialed the citrus way back:

6.
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
2 teaspoons lemon
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine

Finally, Lauren Clark at drinkboston.com has a video devoted to the drink using this recipe:

7.
2 oz rye or bourbon
3/4 lemon
1/2 oz grenadine

You can see the dilemma: orange juice or no? 1 oz lemon or 2 t or none? 3/4 or 2 ounces of booze? creme de menthe?!?

I'm convinced it's a drink I'd like in my repertoire but I'm not interested in a month of trial versions. What are people's preferred Ward Eight recipes? Why? What is it supposed to do or be? What kinds of booze help it along?
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#2 Dave the Cook

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 03:35 PM

I'll add an eighth:

2 ounces rye
1/2 ounce lemon
1/2 ounce orange
1 teaspoon grenadine

This is how the first one I ever had was made, by Lucas at Holeman & Finch. It remains to this day my favorite cocktail involving orange juice -- which means that I agree with Mr. Wondrich:

. . . one thing is certain: to make a proper Ward Eight, you need rye and orange juice. (If made with bourbon and only the lemon juice, as many suggest, it's just a whiskey sour with grenadine: a decent drink, but no Ward Eight.) Y'see, the sharp tang of the rye blends just so with the bite of the lemon and the rounded sweetness of the orange, leaving absolutely no taste of liquor. . .


Having said that, with slight rebalancing, blood oranges work (a gorgeous drink; use a little less lemon juice), as do tangerines (more deeply sweet; a little extra lemon might be necessary).

Seems to me that a Ward 8 made with bourbon would be cloying (but then I say that about most bourbon-based cocktails).

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#3 TexasCocktailGeek

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 04:38 PM

I'll add an eighth:


I suppose that doing a head-to-head and tasting all 8 recipes at once would be a bit much...or maybe not! :wink:

If I get a chance this weekend, I'll make a few of the variations and report back.
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#4 lancastermike

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 05:03 PM

I make these often and always use orange juice. Although not stickler for recipes I agree that without the orange juice it ain't a ward eight. #5 on the above list is how I make them

#5 JAZ

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:19 PM

Just to throw a couple more suggestions into the mix: I sometimes make them with 2 oz. rye, .25 oz each lemon and orange juice, and a teaspoon of grenadine. Very similar to the balance of Dave's above, but more of a rye hit. If you don't like much fruit, you might prefer this.

Also, I found sour oranges at a local "International" market, and used about .75 oz. of that juice to 2 oz. of rye and a teaspoon or so of grenadine. It was, quite possibly, the best Ward 8 I've ever had, but sour oranges aren't readily available, so it's going to be a rare treat for me.

#6 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:03 PM

Put me down as a fan of the #5 recipe above as well, though I'll also muddy things up even more by mentioning that Imbibe! lists a Ward 8 recipe that is almost completely unlike that one. My copy is loaned out right now but I do recall it had Creme de Menthe, among other highly peculiar additions (Absinthe, maybe?). From any less esteemed a source I wouldn't have even given it a second thought, but even as it stands I haven't tried it myself--too far removed from what I consider a Ward 8 to be.
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#7 TexasCocktailGeek

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 10:12 AM

My wife and I did a brief Ward Eight comparison last night, and here are our thoughts.

Believing that the Ward Eight requires both orange juice and rye, I settled on two variations that stick to those ingredients. Specifically, I used Dave's recipe:

2 ounces rye
1/2 ounce lemon
1/2 ounce orange
1 teaspoon grenadine


To compare, I used a recipe from Cocktails+, which in turn was adapted from Gary Regan's The Joy of Mixology:

2 ounces rye whiskey
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce lemon juice
grenadine (to taste)


The main difference, as you can see, was the proportion of juice to whiskey. In both recipes, I squeezed the citrus myself, and I used 1 teaspoon of Sonoma Syrup Co.'s grenadine (I'm out of homemade stuff at the moment). My rye of choice was Rittenhouse (standard, not BIB, sadly; Spec's has been out of it for a while).

Posted Image

The difference the proportions made was substantial! We both much preferred Dave's version (the slightly darker one on the right side in the pic) - we found it to be well-balanced, with good interplay between the orange and the rye; the lemon provided a little zing, but wasn't overpowering.

The Regan recipe, on the other hand, was absolutely dominated by the lemon. The rye and the orange faded into the background, and the grenadine was just gone. I'm guessing that in order to use that recipe, you really do need a high-proof rye to fight that amount of acid. I might try it again when I get my hands on some BIB, but for now, I'm sticking with Dave's version. I'm adding Janet's version to my to-make list as well.

It's pretty neat to see what a big difference an ounce of juice (as well as ingredient choice) makes! I have a fantasy of doing a big comparison of the eight Aviation recipes I have...someday...
Jeff Fox
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#8 brinza

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 06:20 PM

I just tried a couple versions. First, I tried an adaptation of Wondrich's version from Imbibe! I actually used a very tiny amount of creme de menthe. However, since I used a high proof rye, I used less total juice, deferring to TexasCocktailGeek's observation (also, Wondrich's recipe starts with 3 oz of rye). This wasn't bad. Very pleasant. Slightly dry. Not overly tart.
2 oz rye (Wild Turkey 101)
1/2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
dash grendadine
few drops creme de menthe

Next, I improvised on the style of using more orange juice than lemon juice. I took the liberty adding orange bitters to it:
2 oz rye
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
dash simple syrup
few drops orange bitters

I liked this much better. So far, I think two important aspects have emerged:
1) keep the juice-to-booze ratio low, in the tradition of David Embury, so that you can still taste the rye
2) although the use of orange bitters or orange juice was supposed to be an either/or issue, I think the orange bitters does something special for the drink, especially if you are dialing back the lemon juice.

One more comment. Although I think the boozier version tastes better, there is some evidence that this supposed to be more of a punch-style drink than a cocktail (Wondrich actually instructs to top off with selzer), which case, a lot of juice might be more appropriate.
Mike

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#9 vice

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 07:09 PM

Inspired by this thread, I've started playing around with unabashed bastardizations of the Ward Eight that use its basic proportions as a jumping-off point. These two were particularly nice:


2 oz cachaca
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz mandarin juice
1 tsp grenadine


1 oz brandy
1 oz oloroso sherry
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz mandarin juice
1 tsp grenadine


The possibilities appear endless.
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#10 bostonapothecary

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:56 AM

i've been making a ward 8 lately at work. we don't keep many bottles around and it fits into our small inventory.

my recipe looks like this.

1.5 oz. bourbon
.75 oz. lemon juice
.25 oz. simple syrup
.5 oz. grenadine (ice wine method)
dash regan's orange bitters

i categorize this as a drink with no literal recipe like a daiquiri. it can be stretched up and down however you like.

my idea is that the ward 8 should be a relatively low extract sour. and i only try to add enough aroma from the grenadine to barely overshadow the round aromatic quality of the bourbon. this leaves you with a juxtaposition of sexy tarted up pomegranite fruit and the angular spiciness of bourbon as well as all the cardamom from regan's bitters. the less spicy your bourbon, the less grenadine you add filling it in the difference with simple syrup.

as you increase the grenadine and therefore all that dense overshadowing aroma it may be more interesting to switch to a spirit like rye.

Edited by bostonapothecary, 15 March 2010 - 11:57 AM.

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#11 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:41 PM

I made my first Ward Eight tonight.  Very pleasant.

 

2 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100

1 1/4 oz lemon juice

1 1/4 oz Valencia orange juice.

1 teaspoon grenadine

 

 

I first shook it with 2 oz Rittenhouse but when I tasted I went up to 2 1/2 oz.  I would have gone to three but that's all my glass could hold.  (I'm of the school that first selects the glass and then the drink to compliment it.)

 

The problem, and, yes, there is a problem:  half a Valencia orange gives four ounces of juice.  After trying two different stores, Valencia oranges must be bought in bags of about eight.  Oranges don't keep very long.  You do the math.

 

Maybe that's were the name comes from, Ward Eight.



#12 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 08:26 PM

I made another.  This time with half a lime instead of lemon, the leftover orange juice, two ounces Rittenhouse, one teaspoon grenadine, two dashes Angostura orange bitters.  Different.  The marshmallow taste of Rittenhouse shines through.  To my preference It could stand a tad more grenadine.  The first version with lemon and more orange juice was better.

 

Still, if someone served this to me I wouldn't want to send it back.  I'm so glad to have found something that works with Rittenhouse.



#13 Hassouni

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:07 PM

I made my first Ward Eight tonight.  Very pleasant.

 

2 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100

1 1/4 oz lemon juice

1 1/4 oz Valencia orange juice.

1 teaspoon grenadine

 

 

I first shook it with 2 oz Rittenhouse but when I tasted I went up to 2 1/2 oz.  I would have gone to three but that's all my glass could hold.  (I'm of the school that first selects the glass and then the drink to compliment it.)

 

The problem, and, yes, there is a problem:  half a Valencia orange gives four ounces of juice.  After trying two different stores, Valencia oranges must be bought in bags of about eight.  Oranges don't keep very long.  You do the math.

 

Maybe that's were the name comes from, Ward Eight.

 

I gotta say, oranges keep pretty well in these parts...as does all other citrus.

 

Ward 8 is the nastiest part of DC, I know it's not the origin of the name, but as a Washingtonian, I can't get the coincidence out of my head.



#14 lesliec

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 11:49 PM

Oranges are pretty happy in the vegetable bins of my fridge.

Not sure I'd like the Ward 8. Bit heavy on the citrus for me.

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#15 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 12:38 AM

My bin is filled up with lemons, limes, and mint*.  The bag of oranges is in the bedroom.

 

 

 

*One bag of mint did not fit either.