Friday, March 5, 2010

ninth ward

1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Eagle Rare 10 Year)
3/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz St. Germain
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Original calls for Bulleit Bourbon and Fee's Falernum.

On Tuesday night, we finally got around to having a Ninth Ward. I say finally because this drink was created for Tales of the Cocktail back in 2008, and I am embarrassed that it took me this long to mix one up. I believe it was on a list of drinks to try and the list somehow got lost in the shuffle. I was reminded of it recently when Wayne Curtis (of And a Bottle of Rum fame) wrote about it a few weeks ago. Brother Cleve created this drink to honor New Orleans' 9th ward which was one of the areas most damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In addition, it is a variation of a Boston classic, the Ward Eight -- a drink I have both had out and made myself several times but have yet to blog about. Excerpting from an article in DrinkBoston about it, Brother Cleve described its inception as, "I wanted to create a drink for the event that would have some sort of New Orleans and Boston connection... So my idea was to take the Ward Eight, the best-known drink created in Boston, and turn it into a tropical cocktail for New Orleans." The post also goes on to describe the swapping of the Ward Eight's grenadine and lemon for falernum and lime, as well as his reasons for the addition of the St. Germain liqueur and Peychaud's Bitters (and some further colorful commentary about New Orleans and Dorchester, MA). In addition, if you would like to hear the ever charming Brother Cleve describe the drink while watching him make one, How2Heroes has a video of him doing so.
Brother Cleve's recipe called for the rye-heavy Bulleit Bourbon for it would better approximate the whiskey of the era when the Ward Eight was created; however, our bottle of Bulleit has long since run dry so we subbed in the less spicy Eagle Rare which donated a rather buttery taste to the drink instead of sharper notes. Balance-wise, the Ninth Ward was a little on the tart side, but pleasantly so; perhaps Cleve's calling for Fee's Falernum might shift things toward the sweeter side. The lime juice-falernum-St. Germanin combination made a good trio where the flavors blended together such that they were not individually distinct, and these flavors were splendidly punctuated by the Peychaud's. When I handed Andrea the cocktail, I let her taste the drink without telling her the cocktail name or the ingredients; intriguingly, Andrea thought that there were lemon and grenadine in the mix perhaps due to the citrus notes playing with the St. Germain as well as the color donated by the Peychaud's. After hearing her guesses, I realized that this creation was indeed an excellent riff on the Ward Eight.

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