The Last Word is a unique and refreshing cocktail often associated with the Prohibition era. It uses a simple formula of four very different ingredients in equal parts to achieve a balance of interesting flavours.
The irony that this is the first cocktail recipe I chose to share on this website is not lost on me. But this one stands on its own merits for a few reasons, so I jumped on the chance to immortalize it.
Why do I love this drink so much?
First, this faded green elixir just tastes amazing. It is sour, tart, vegetal, and herbal. There are a lot of flavours bouncing around your mouth. It’s engaging, but never overwhelming. I think the Last Word can inspire a lot of people who don’t know much about cocktails to learn more about mixed drinks. If you count yourself in that group, I highly recommend giving this one a try if you’re able, doubly so if you make your own drinks at home.
Second, its story is that of the comeback kid. The Last Word was developed in the 1910s at the Detroit Athletic Club. Originally served as a luxury drink, it’s better known for being made with bathtub gin during the Prohibition era.
Many drinks of that era bore the brunt of bad press due to government crackdowns and media propaganda against alcohol use. It could have easily been lost to time if it wasn’t for Seattle bartender Murray Stenson, who revived in the early 2000s while scrawling through obscure, old recipes. Apparently, even the DAC itself forgot the drink existed.
The drink has exploded in popularity since the turn of the century. The Last Word and its many spin-offs are a feel-good story for bartenders and cocktail lovers alike. Ever heard of a Paper Plane? The beautiful, deep orange one that’s become a hit at pretty much any cocktail bar, website, or YouTube channel? It’s based on this formula! And yes, it’s also based on the song that pretty much everyone alive in 2007 heard.
Enough history though. The last word, in this case, is a drink.
Last Word Cocktail
- Cocktail shaker
- Hawthorne strainer
- Coupe glass
- Ice cubes
- 3/4 oz (22.5 ml) gin
- 3/4 oz (22.5 ml) lime juice
- 3/4 oz (22.5 ml) maraschino liqueur Luxardo is a popular and accessible brand to use here, but if you have another feel free to use that!
- 3/4 oz (22.5 ml) green Chartreuse there is no substitute for this timeless herbal liqueur made by monks in the French Alps.
- Pre-chill your serving glass in the fridge or freezer.
- If you can, squeeze fresh juice from a lime during preparation.
- Put all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Seal tightly and shake for at least 10 seconds.
- Remove chilled glass. Place the strainer over the shaker cup and pour contents into your glass.
- Optional: garnish with a fresh or maraschino cherry. Avoid the bright red cherries in this case, as they are very sweet and will disturb the flavour balance of your drink.