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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
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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 cocktails like 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 Chartreuse cocktail, but there are several more to try! Another classic is the Bijou, made with vermouth and similar to a Manhattan. You can also use it for a modern craft cocktail like the Fernet Sour or Naked and Famous! 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
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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


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.


  • 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


  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
  • Diet: Vegan

More gin drinks

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

  • Gin Gimlet A classic cocktail made of lime juice, simple syrup and gin. Totally refreshing!
  • Gin Fizz Super classic, this drink is sweet, tangy, and has a frothy egg white foam topping.
  • Tom Collins Light, bubbly, sweet tart, and just plain fun.
  • Gin Gin Mule A gin-based spin on the Moscow mule.
  • Bramble Drizzle a lemony gin sour with candy-sweet blackberry liqueur for a stunning drink.
  • Corpse Reviver A classic cocktail that’s crisp, tart and perfectly balanced! Just as unique as its name.
  • Red Snapper This is the gin-based version of a Bloody Mary.
  • Singapore Sling A fun and complex classic cocktail with an impressively long ingredient list.
  • Gin Sour A classic sour that’s the perfect balance of lemon, gin and syrup.
  • Clover Club Tangy and bright pink, with raspberry or grenadine, gin, and an egg white foam on top.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Barbara says:

    Can I use Mountain Dew to make A Last Word mocktail? I would also use a nonalcoholic Gin.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      It would probably be a little sweet. Use just a splash!

  2. Jonell says:

    Is there a gin you recommend? I’m wondering if I should go something like a Monkey 47 or would you go with a more pungent gin?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Any should work. We like it with Malfy.

  3. David Raymond says:

    I actually prefer Tanqueray as do many others. It’s perfectly balanced for the Last Word.

  4. Kelly says:

    Would you mind sharing who makes this beautiful coupe glass (used with your Last Word cocktail)? I would love to purchase it for my at-home bar? I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so very much.