The Ward 8 is a classic cocktail recipe that brings together the rich spiciness of rye whiskey with the brightness of citrus and a touch of sweetness. Even though it isn’t a super duper well-known cocktail, its intriguing blend of flavors has earned it a place amongst timeless favorites.

Today, Chris is making two versions of this cocktail– the classic and his modified version that is a bit rounder and more balanced, which we are calling the Ward 8.1.



Ward 8 History

While this isn’t featured quite as often on cocktail menus as some more famous cocktails, like the Whiskey Sour, the creation of the Ward Eight is a favorite story amongst cocktail historians.

This classic whiskey cocktail has its roots in Boston, dating back to the late 19th century. Legend has it that it was created to celebrate the victory of political boss Martin Lomasney’s Eighth Ward election– but you just never know with these origin stories what’s actually true!

With its balanced combination of whiskey, lemon juice, and the popular syrup grenadine, the Ward 8 quickly gained traction and became favored by cocktail enthusiasts. Today, it’s still appreciated for its unique flavor combination and its connection to Boston’s rich history.



Ward 8 Cocktail Ingredients

To craft this delicious cocktail, gather the following simple ingredients:

  1. Rye Whiskey: Opt for a quality rye whiskey, known for its robust and spicy character. This helps balance the Ward 8’s sweet and sour flavor profile.
  2. Fresh Lemon Juice: Use fresh lemons rather than store bought juice to infuse your Ward 8 with natural, bright citrus notes.
  3. Grenadine: A sweet and tangy pomegranate syrup, a hint of grenadine for sweetness adds depth to the cocktail.
  4. Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice imparts a delightful, citrusy tang that complements the other flavors, especially when the two citrus juices are mixed together.
  5. Maraschino Cherry or Orange Slice: A maraschino cherry or orange slice (or even a piece of orange zest) serves as a classic garnish, although it’s also common to skip a garnish on this one.


oranges and lemons for a classic whiskey cocktail in a chilled glass

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy via


How to Make a Ward 8

In this week’s video, Chris not only makes the classic Ward 8 cocktail but also shows you his Ward 8.1 version using his secret ingredient… Limoncello! Check it out here:



Ward 8 Variations

Chris himself offers two variations today; before we riff on this Boston classic, let’s look at the basic recipe:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1/4 ounce Grenadine

While this vintage cocktail is really yummy with its citrus flavor and signature sweetness, here are a few variations to explore:

  1. Ward 9: Swap out the rye whiskey for bourbon, adding a smoother and slightly sweeter profile to the cocktail.
  2. Ward 8 Royale: Top off your Ward 8 with a splash of sparkling wine or champagne for a touch of effervescence.
  3. Winter Ward 8: During the colder months, add a dash of aromatic bitters, such as Angostura or cinnamon bitters, to bring warm notes to your drink– This plays well with the rye mixture.
  4. Tropical Ward 8: Experiment with incorporating a splash of pineapple juice or coconut water for a fruity, refreshing twist. It will play with the other citrus flavors and add a tropical feel.
  5. It’s also popular to use fresh lime juice instead of lemon. 
  6. If you’re feeling ambitious and/or creative, make your own homemade grenadine instead of using the overly-sweet store-bought version. Create your own pomegranate simple syrup of sorts by combining equal parts pomegranate juice and sugar with a splash of orange flower water or 1 ounce lemon juice. Note: This natural grenadine won’t produce the same bright color of traditional sweet tart syrup from stores. Don’t be surprised if your final cocktail doesn’t look like our photos!


craft cocktail in a chilled glass

Photo by Alex Kubsch via


Gotta Love This Classic Whiskey Cocktail

The Ward Eight is a classic rye whiskey cocktail that brings together whiskey, citrus, and grenadine for a balanced drink.

Whether you’re looking to unwind after a long day or impress guests at your next gathering, the Ward 8 offers a delightful blend of flavors and a touch of American history. So, gather your ingredients & your cocktail shaker and perfect your shaking technique– It’s time to make the Ward 8!

famous drink Ward 8, a classic whiskey cocktail, with 1 ounce orange juice

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Ward 8

A twist on the classic cocktail, this surprisingly bright & bitter is a tasty way to use orange juice in a non-sweet drink, adding Limoncello & subbing in single malt whiskey to round out the drink.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks


  • 1 3/4 oz Single Malt Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Limoncello
  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice
  • 1/4 oz Grenadine


  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  • Shake for 10-15 seconds.
  • Use your Hawthorne cocktail strainer and fine strainer to double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Optional: Garnish with an orange peel and/or cocktail cherry.