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The $20 Cocktail -- The Place D'Armes

Jackson Square (with St. Louis Cathedral in the background) is a popular spot.
Jackson Square (with St. Louis Cathedral in the background) is a popular spot in New Orleans.

A $20 cocktail?!  Isn't that expensive?  Yes, but it doesn't really cost $20.  So why call it a $20 cocktail?  Because it pertains to Andrew Jackson. Who?  The guy on the $20 bill. Before he became the seventh President of the United States, Jackson was best known for defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.  So why the funky French name?  Because the famous Jackson Square in New Orleans used to be known as the Place D'Armes.

Thanks to Marvin Allen, a great bartender at the legendary Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone (and author of the excellent book Magic in a Shaker) for introducing me to this cocktail.


I bet this New Orleans resident likes Ward 8s (look closely).
This New Orleans resident likes Ward 8s (look closely).

1.5 ounces rye whiskey
Juice from 1/8 lemon
Juice from 1/8 lime
Juice from 1/8 orange
,75 ounces glorious grenadine

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake as if you're leading the charge against the British, and strain into a chilled glass.

Even though the Place D'Armes is a year round cocktail, to me it's particularly refreshing during the summer months. The Place D'Armes is similar to the Ward 8.  Both have rye as the base spirit, incorporate citrus juices, and use grenadine as the finishing touch. Who knew there's a vague New Orleans-Boston (or N'awlins-Bahstun) cocktail connection?  You do now.

Boston Strong -- The Ward 8

Even though Boston is a great city with a rich history, it is not known as a cocktail town.  That being said, you never should accuse Bostonians of being teetotalers, unless you are ignorant and/or have a death wish.  Although the precise birthplace and inventor of the Ward 8 are unclear (the name refers to a political district), the consensus is that someone in Boston (my parents are from there) invented this cocktail around the turn of the 20th century. 

Make your liver Boston Strong
Make your liver Boston Strong

2.25 ounces rye (go with Bulleit or Willett if you can)
Juice from 1/4 a lemon
Juice from 1/8 an orange
.5 ounces glorious grenadine syrup

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir as if you're walking with excitement to Boston's secular cathedral (otherwise known as Fenway Park), and strain into a chilled glass.

The ingredients of this cocktail may seem incongruous.  In that respect the cocktail honors the city.  For example, there's a wonderful line about Boston being a place where a lot of truly brilliant people coexist with a few violent psychopaths (I'm giving you the less profane version of how I heard it).  I'm not saying that rye is brilliant and grenadine syrup is psychopathic, or vice versa.  I'm merely saying that certain things go together better than you might think.  So make yourself a Ward 8, put on a good movie that takes place in Boston (such as The Departed, Good Will Hunting, or the original Thomas Crown Affair), and enjoy.