60's style classic cocktail suggestions

70′s style cocktail suggestions

Back in the 70′s beverage menus didn’t oftenconsist of by the glass wine, exotic beers or creative craft cocktails, but, many a diner and restaurant had these funky illustrated placematsto help you choose a fancy cocktail before dinner. Ladies, dolledup and sipped on a Creme De MentheFrappe or Brandy Alexander while enjoying an evening out . Tiki Cocktails or Zombie’s in tall frosted glasses where a common sight. Every self-respecting barman in cocktail establishments had thesepopular choicesunder the belt and maybe a specialty remedy or two for what ailed you.

RedemptionRye When I started frequentingbars in the late 70′s my drink of choice was the Ward Eight, picked from one of these retro drink guides. I had seen many pass by on numerous Friday evenings out with my parents. They looked special, a bright pink juice served with a maraschinocherry and a thick orange slice held together with agleamingplastic sword. I felt swanky drinking it. At my neighborhood bar, Bill (a gruff, surlyIrishman), scowled at me weekly as hemade my Ward Eightwith concentrated juice, pre made sour mix, cheap rye and gobs of grenadine, it wasnot exactly something you ordered in your local dive. Bill’s version was a horrible concoction he was happy I outgrew once I became accustomed to the taste of beer and 7 & 7′s, the popular drink of choice in such places at the time. I hadn’t thought of Bill in years till I picked up a bottle of Redemption Rye and a friend suggested it made a fabulous Ward Eight. In honor of Bill I decided to take a walk down memory lane and mix up a Ward Eight to start my weekend.

Redemption Rye, a two year old, 95% rye whiskey is just as feisty as the back label suggests. Its notes of spice, cinnamon, dark chocolate and a hint of green botanicals make it perfect to mix in a juice based cocktail. The Ward Eight has many variations but most recipes found contain a mix of orange and lemon juice, just the right mix of fruit to offset the spicy elements of Redemption.

The original recipe was created in 1898 in Boston. The story goes that Democratic political czar Martin M. Lomasney hoped to capture a seat in the state’s legislature. The drink was created to honor his election, and the city’s Ward 8 which historically delivered him a winning margin.

With a bit of trail and error I came up with my perfect variation of the Ward Eight using freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice with a touch of simple syrup infused with orange zest, pomegranate and pink peppercorns. The syrup takes the place of grenadine, the hint of orange and spice really make this a unique addition to this classic. A delicious modern spin to an old classic and a fabulous way to start any evening!


ward eight

2 ounces rye

Freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice 2 ounces each

1 oz orange /pomegranate /peppercorn syrup

Build in shaker with ice, shake well and strain into chilled martini glass


1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup pomegranate seeds

zest of one medium orange

1 tablespoon pink peppercorns

Put sugar, water, peppercornsand pomegranate seeds in saucepan and heat over medium flame till sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat to reduce a bit. Remove from heat and add orange zest. Stir and let rest till room temp, strain through cheeseclothinto large metal bowl and transfer to glass container. Also great in sparkling wine or seltzer! Keeps in fridge for 2 weeks.

Filed under: Cocktails and Spirits, wine and food culture