Where You Should Be Drinking in Boston: Ward 8
Everything we know about Boston’s West End, we owe to Dennis Lehane. Apparently, in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, the West End was the second stop on an immigrants’ path to assimilation in Boston. First stop was the North End. The Irish, and then the Italians, and then Jews and Eastern Europeans landed there. With time and money, they moved their way west of Washington Street to the West End, and from there, as more time elapsed, they dispersed throughout the city. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, the West End was the city’s primary neighborhood for working class families, and a hotbed of activity in organizing labor.
In the 1950s, the West End was torn down and replaced by large, ugly concrete buildings surrounded by even larger, barren, brick laid squares (see, Government Center). The idea that this was ever a neighborhood fit for human habitation at all was completely erased from the landscape, leaving modern Bostonians like us completely dependent on crime novelists to clue us in.
Currently, there’s something of a campaign to resuscitate the long-dead West End. Thus, we found ourselves at Ward 8 Restaurant and Bar for a couple of rounds of drinks.
What We Ordered
The Get Down: rhum barbancourt, Old Monk rum, maraschino liqueur, absinthe
Bee’s Knees: vodka, honey, lemon juice
Six to Midnight: gin, falernum, lemon, cinnamon, mint, amaro
Suffering Bastard: Cognac, gin, lime, sugar, bitters, ginger beer
What We Thought
The Bee’s Knees was just what we were hoping for, not at all complicated, but well-made, delicious, and refreshing. We enjoyed it enough to post on it separately.
The Get Down was our favorite drink of the evening. Ever since tiki week, we’ve been drawn to drinks that employ a combination of rums, and The Get Down didn’t disappoint; the two rums made a nice set, even as we could distinguish the two from one another, the grassy Barbancourt gently giving way to the deep vanilla notes of the Old Monk. We were wondering whether the absinthe would feel like it belonged, but it played nicely; somehow, maybe in some interplay with the demerara syrup, it added a slight banana note to the drink. The maraschino gave the otherwise rich and sweet drink a nice, slightly bitter floral finish. We loved this drink so much that we asked for the recipe. Ward 8 was kind enough to accommodate.
The Get Down Cocktail Recipe
- 1 1/2 oz rhum agricole
- 1/2 oz Old Monk rum
- 1/4 oz demerara syrup
- 1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
- absinthe rinse
- lemon twist
- Rinse the old fashioned glass with absinthe by swirling about a teaspoon of absinthe all around the inside of the glass and discarding the remnants.
- Add the rest of the liquid ingredients to the old fashioned glass.
- Fill with ice.
- Gently stir to mix.
- Garnish with lemon twist.