What will they think of next? (January '09 edition)

Considering that this week we began hitting historic notes -- ringing in a new year and leaving the year that marked the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition in the U.S. -- I thought it appropriate to serve up for this month's recipes some cocktails with historic pedigrees.

• WARD 8

This concoction, sort of a variant on the whiskey sour (see that recipe below), was dreamed up in Boston at the Locke-Ober restaurant bar in 1898, according to the most persuasive version of the story. Ward 8 was the section of the city that consistently delivered a winning margin of votes to the powerful Democratic political leader Martin M. Lomasney, who reigned for a half-century. The drink supposedly was created to honor him.

There are variartions on the drink, using bourbon or rye or blended whiskey, and using lemon juice or lime juice or no juice. This is the original version re-introduced to legal drinkers at the Locke-Ober after Prohibition was repealed.

2 ounces rye whiskey
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
Maraschino cherry

Shake the whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice and grenadine with ice. Strain over ice into a chilled Collins glass or Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry. (Originally, the drink was decorated with a small paper Massachusetts flag.)

Tequila Sunset

Unlike its more famous cousin, the Tequila Sunrise -- which is nothing more than a splash of orange juice and a dash of grenadine in a glass of tequila, this drink that is popular in Mexico's high society has been around since the 1920s. Now, with tequila's increasing presence on the U.S. liquor scene, it would make an excellent holiday offering. Here's the recipe and procedure as it appears in Stuart Walton's "The Ultimate Book of Cocktails (Hermes House, London, 2005).

1 measure gold tequila (not 100% agave)
5 measures fresh lemon juice
1 measure fresh orange juice
1 or 2 tablespoons clear honey
2/3 measure créme de cassis

Pour tequila, lemon juice and orange juice in a chilled cocktail glass and mix well with a swizzle stick. Carefully trickle the honey into the center of the drink. It will sink and create a layer at the bottom of the glass. Add the créme de cassis, but do not stir. It will create a glowing layer above the honey at the bottom of the glass.

Whiskey Sour

The "sour" in the name is a derivation of the old Anglo-Saxon surigan, which was eventually shortened to sour and stuck because of the taset of lemon or lime in the concoction. This recipe comes from "The OId Waldorf Astoria Bar Book," first published just before Prohibition.

½ lemon
½ teaspoon bar sugar
½ pony of water
1 jigger of whiskey
Fresh ice
Orange slice
Maraschino cherry

Put the water and whiskey in a cocktail glass, squeeze in the juice of the lemon-half, then the sugar. Stir vigorously until all ingredients are blended, pour over fresh ice in the glass, and garnish with the fruit.

[Go here for my archive of monthly cocktail recipe collections.]

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