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A drink for the political spectrum

7:12 PM, Jul. 11, 2012
The Ward 8 Cocktail at Jackson's Steakhouse. / Bruce Graner/GoPensacola.com

Ward 8 Cocktail

2 ounces rye or bourbon˝ ounce fresh lemon juice˝ ounce fresh orange juice1 teaspoon grenadine1 maraschino cherry (optional)Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a paper Massachusetts flag (if you can find one).
Jackson’s Steakhouse, 400 Palafox Place. 469-9898, or visit jacksons.goodgrits.com.

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With the presidential election drawing closer, everything you see and hear is politics. Well, I’m one who believes in the old adage “never discuss politics or religion in polite company.” You run the risk of making enemies of your friends and friends with your enemies. I don’t know which would be worse, but I don’t want to risk either.

There is a politician worth discussing due to his involvement in the creation of the well-known cocktail, the Ward 8 — Rep. Martin Lomasney. He’s not running for president. He’s not involved in a scandal. Heck, he’s not even alive; but the story goes like this:

The year is 1898. A very likeable bartender by the name of Tom Hussion has been recently hired at the Locke-Ober Cafe in Boston, Mass. Hussion had a very loyal following, and it didn’t take long for many of his influential friends to fill the bar.

Among them was State Senator, State Representative and Alderman Martin Lomasney. With a long and colorful political history (including being shot in the leg by a disgruntled constituent), Lomasney and his cronies were at the bar one election night having a pre-celebration for his imminent appointment to the esteemed Massachusetts General Court. It was a very close race and Lomasney won (although by a slim margin), thanks to his loyal voters in Ward 8.

Being a good bartender, Hussion created a new drink to honor his friend’s victory and bought a round for the house. The drink was a big hit and was named Ward 8 in honor of those who tipped the scales.

Ironically, Lomasney was a staunch prohibitionist, and when the Noble Experiment arrived, the bar in Locke-Ober Cafe was forced to close. The Ward 8, however, remained a popular cocktail throughout Prohibition, and an article in a 1934 Esquire magazine crowned it as one of the top 10 cocktails of the year. The Locke-Ober reopened its bar in the early 1950s, and to this day still serves up the Ward 8, just as they did in 1898.

A few words of wisdom to all the politicians and soap-boxers out there, in the words of Lomasney himself: “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink.”

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