Last Word Cocktail

The Last Word is a unique classic cocktail that’s newly en vogue! This pale green drink is beautifully balanced between sharp, sour, and sweet.

Last Word cocktail

Here’s a drink for the adventurous home bartender: the Last Word cocktail! This pale green gin sour is a classic cocktail that was all but lost to history. But with the revival of cocktail culture, this one’s come back strong! It’s equal parts sharp, sweet, and sour: full of intrigue and nuance from a few special ingredients. Because I’m partial to green drinks and sour cocktails, this one hit it home for me! Here’s all about this forgotten classic.

What’s a Last Word cocktail?

The Last Word cocktail is a classic gin cocktail made with equal parts gin, Maraschino liqueur, Chartreuse liqueur, and lime juice. The equal parts format and specialty liqueurs gives it a uniquely balanced flavor. The drink appeared on menus as early as 1916, but it wasn’t printed in a cocktail book until the 1950’s. Then it basically went under the radar until a bartender in Seattle (Murray Stenson) revived it in 2004. It caught on in the Pacific Northwest, then spread world wide and has been popular ever since!

The drink is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning it has an official definition. The ingredients in a Last Word are:

  • Gin
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Chartreuse liqueur
  • Lime juice

Let’s break these down, shall we?

Last word cocktail

Maraschino liqueur: is it worth buying?

In a word: yes! Maraschino liqueur is a clear, cherry-flavored liqueur. Now, this is not the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries! Don’t be fooled by the name. The flavor of Maraschino is dry with a hint of sweet, with sour cherry and almond notes. We find it irresistibly intriguing and it’s worth buying if you love being an at home bartender.

If you buy a bottle, you can use it for several other classic cocktails! Maraschino liqueur stars in the zingy Hemingway Daiquiri, sophisticated Martinez and the purple Aviation. There are several brands of maraschino liqueur: a popular one is Luxardo (which we found at our local liquor store).

What is Chartreuse liqueur?

Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur that’s been made by French monks since the mid-1700’s. It’s made by aging alcohol with a secret blend of 130 plants. (And no, we did not make this up!) Chartreuse liqueur comes in two colors: green and yellow.

The Last Word is the most famous cocktail that uses Chartreuse. Another classic cocktail is the Bijou Cocktail, made with vermouth and similar to a Manhattan. You can also use it for a modern craft cocktail like the Fernet Sour! Outside of those two drinks, there aren’t many more well known uses. Buy a bottle if you’re an adventurous home bartender looking for a unique liqueur. You can also sip it as a shot, and it would be nice with soda water as a sort of spritz.

Maraschino and Chartreuse liqueur

The gin to use for a Last Word

For the Last Word, as with most cocktails: the better the gin, the better the drink! Some cocktails can cover over sub-par gin, but not here. Even though it’s got 3 other parts to this cocktail, use a good gin for the best flavor. Here are some things to know:

  • Every bottle of gin tastes a little different and has different botanical flavors. Experiment to find your favorite!
  • We like Malfy gin, so that’s what we used here.
  • Steer away from Tanqueray gin: in our personal opinion, it gives a strong floral quality.

Last special ingredient: a Luxardo cherry!

Last up: the garnish! The Last Word cocktail is traditionally garnished with a Luxardo cherry. Of course, you can use any type of cocktail cherry you want. But, Luxardo cherries are special. They’re a cocktail cherry that’s so dark red they almost look black. They taste complex, fruity, and nutty: almost like amaretto. There’s truly nothing like them!

Luxardo cherries are often used as a garnish for the classic Manhattan, Martinez, and Aviation as well. Where to find them? It’s easiest to order Luxardo cherries online.

Last word cocktail

When to serve a Last Word cocktail

The Last Word cocktail is a sweet tart, sophisticated classic cocktail that works anytime! Again, you’ll need a few specialty ingredients, so it’s great for the adventurous home bartender. Serve it as a:

  • Signature drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
Print
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Last Word cocktail

Last Word Cocktail


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Last Word is a unique classic cocktail that’s newly en vogue! This pale green drink is beautifully balanced between sharp, sour, and sweet.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce green Chartreuse liqueur
  • 1 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • For the garnish: Luxardo cherry or other cocktail cherry

Instructions

  1. Add the gin, Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake it until cold.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry or cocktail cherry.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Last Word cocktail

More gin drinks

Gin is the star in so many of the great cocktails! Here are some great gin cocktails:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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