Last Word

Last Word cocktail in a martini glass

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

We came across this drink when we were trying to identify the proportions of the Rio Verde. This recipe in The New Cocktail Hour had similar ingredients so we tried it. It was a delightful discovery, especially the Green Chartreuse which imparts a wonderful herbaceous flavor. Green Chartreuse is so good as a cocktail ingredient we sought out further recipes that feature it.

The Last Word originated during the Prohibition-era in the 1920s in the bar of the Detroit Athletic Club. It survived long enough to get included in a book of cocktail recipes in the 1950s but then faded from view. It was rediscovered in the mid 2000s when Murray Stenson, a bartender in Seattle, was searching old cocktail books looking for inspiration and has gone on to become a contemporary classic.

The brand of gin probably does not matter too much though we tend to use Tanqueray No. Ten. We reduced the sweetness some from the original recipe to suit our taste so you may want to add a little more liqueur or some simple syrup. We very much enjoy using Key limes in this drink though we have yet to do a side-by-side test with Persian limes.

Good as it is the Last Word is not the end of the matter. The Lumière has a very similar recipe—it substitutes St Germain elderflower liqueur for the maraschino liqueur and adds a dash of orange bitters. We feel the herbal notes in the elderflower liqueur are a better complement to the Green Chartreuse. We think we prefer the Lumière but it's a close call.