Last Words continue to be one of my markers of excellence at a bar. It’s somewhat of a bartender’s handshake—any bartender worth his salt should know it, love it, and be happy to whip one up on- or off-menu.
Which isn’t a big ask considering the equal-parts cocktail, no-garnish doesn’t require a lot of thinking. That’s how it became my staple cocktail as a working sommelier. When a customer was looking for something more creative than a martini, Last Word is what I would immediately recommend (Keep in mind we’re a wine spot, so our bar options were limited).
But I quickly noticed that dropping words like Green Chartreuse and maraschino was off-putting to the standard drinker—unfamiliar ingredients that don’t offer a lot of name appeal. So I started offering them “a fun little herby, citrusy, gin-based number.”
We started selling dozens a night. Grandmas were drinking Last Words. Chardonnay-loving wine moms were drinking Last Words and, miniature Last Words became the shot of choice.
The prohibition-era drink (dating back to the Detroit Athletic Club in 1915) is light, bright, clean, and crisp—herbaceous and playful; it’s low-key, a crowd-pleasing cocktail.
The Last Word
- 0.75 oz Plymouth Navy-Strength Gin
- 0.75 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- 0.75 oz Green Chartreuse
- 0.75 oz Lime Juice
- Shake with ice
- Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass
- No garnish