The Last Word

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A little jolt of energy in the bleak mid-winter

Over the past couple of months, we’ve featured soothing, warming, easy-sipping cocktails as we moved into winter weather. Well, winter finally landed with jackboots last week, leaving many of us in Music City house-bound for a few days. So we thought it was time to offer something with a real kick. Enough soothing! Let’s get moving!

The Last Word, another of the classic cocktails from the Prohibition era, was developed at the Detroit Athletic Club. It fell out of favor in the 1950s but found a renaissance in recent years, as the new cocktail craze began to bloom.

It’s made of equal parts gin, maraschino liqueur, green Chartreuse, and fresh lime juice. The flavor is difficult to describe – a bit sour, a bit sweet, a bit pungent –  and, at the outset, a little challenging. But keep sipping. It’s totally delicious and will warm you up in a hurry. It might even get you up and sledding down the nearest hill. Just what the doctor ordered for cabin fever!

The Last Word

  • Equal parts (3/4 ounce is a nice amount) of the following:
  • Gin
  • Maraschino liqueur* (Luxardo is the brand most stores carry)
  • Green Chartreuse*
  • Lime juice (fresh, of course)

Shake with ice until your fingers freeze, and strain into a cocktail glass. A twist of lime peel makes a nice garnish.

Winter torpor be gone!

A word about ingredients.

Maraschino liquor is a sweet-sour concoction, originated in Croatia and/or Italy in the early 19th century and made from distilling Marasca cherries. There are a number of brands, but it's rare to run across anything but Luxardo in my experience. It's not cheap, but a bottle will last you quite a while.

Chartreuse is a liqueur made by Carthusian monks in France since the mid-1700s. It has a herbaceous flavor with a hint of anise on the back end. There are two varieties, green and yellow, but green ins the original, and the one you'll find in most stores. Interestingly, this liqueur gave it's name to the yellow-green color, first called chartreuse in the 1880s. Like Luxardo, Chartreuse is not cheap, but again, a little goes a long way.