What’s in it: Rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, and grenadine.
Where it comes from: It wouldn’t be the 1920s without seedy politics, and that’s exactly why the Ward Eight was (allegedly) created. A Boston bartender made the drink on election night, when a local political boss won his seat on the Massachusetts state legislature -- thanks to some election rigging in Boston’s Ward Eight voting district. (Apparently, his win was such a shoe-in they started celebrating before the votes were even tallied.) It came to national fame when Esquire named the Ward Eight one of the top cocktails of 1934 -- an important year for drinking history, because the Volstead Act had just been repealed at the end 1933.
How you know it's legit: Along with cheap happy hours, count fresh OJ among the stuff you don’t always find at a bar, but should. Dorman says that freshly squeezed orange juice doesn’t keep very well behind the bar, leaving most barkeeps to turn to frozen stuff in a can. When it comes to the Ward Eight though, squeezing a few oranges fresh will take the drink from a lackluster brunch option to a legit cocktail.
What’s in it: Whiskey or scotch with club soda, but really any liquor will work.
Where it comes from: Whether you mix it with gin, tequila, or green-tea infused whiskey, the patriarch of the Highball family is the scotch and soda. Determining who was the first person to combine scotch and club soda is like trying to nail down who first scrambled eggs, but legend has it that the English actor E.J. Ratcliffe brought the drink across the pond to New York in 1894, gracing happy hours with this staple cocktail for generations.
How you know it's legit: With only two ingredients, what could there possibly be to screw up? Turns out that sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest to master. The Highball is all about balance, says Dorman: “Sometimes bartenders try to be nice and generous -- and because you’re ordering a Highball, it’s because you want a mixed drink and you probably want a decent amount of liquor in there. And I think that’s the disappointing part.” You want the drink to be 50% liquor to 50% club soda. Overdoing it on either can make for a disappointing drink -- which is exactly what you don’t want after ten hours in front of a computer.