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The story behind the Ward Eight cocktail

Pull up a stool, we’re shaking up the story on Boston’s signature cocktail — the Ward Eight.

A Ward Eight cocktail next to a BOStoday glass.

Bonus: Make your own cocktail in these BOStoday glasses from Cutting Edge.

Photo by BOStoday team

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Ever wonder what Boston’s signature cocktail is all about? Grab a seat. We’re pouring out the story and history behind the classic cocktail — the Ward Eight.

What is it?

Traditionally this mixed drink is made with whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine. Then the drink is served with crushed ice and topped with soda water in a tall glass. It can be garnished with a maraschino cherry and a slice of orange. What’s not to like about that?

Who created this cocktail?

As the story goes, The Ward Eight was invented by Charlie Carter while bartending at the Locke-Ober in the late 1890s.

To celebrate his win to the Eighth Ward district of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Martin Lomasney hosted a party at the popular bar. He asked Charlie to craft several unique drinks that the party would vote on to select their favorite. And Ward Eight was victorious, in more ways than one.

Locke-Ober was one of the oldest restaurants in the country, and it closed its Downtown Crossing location after 137 years in October 2012. The Ward Eight lives on, available at various bars and restaurants across the city.

Ward Eight recipe


  • 1½ ounces Rye Whiskey
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ½ ounce grenadine

Directions: Shake well and then fill with seltzer.

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