The Last Word is a Prohibition-era cocktail, which TFD has evolved into what I call “The Final Word”.
The original Last Word cocktail consists of equal amounts of gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and freshly-pressed lime juice.
The cocktail was created in the early 1920s in Detroit, where it was first served at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Later, Frank Fogarty introduced it to New York and in 1951 its recipe got published in Ted Saucier’s classic cocktail book Bottoms Up!
Fogarty himself was no bartender, but one of the best-known vaudevillian monologists of his time. Some say his occupation is what gave rise to the cocktail’s name.
The cocktail, however, fell into oblivion sometime after World War II, until it was re-discovered by Murray Stenson in 2004.
Stenson was looking for a new cocktail for the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle, when he came across an old copy of Saucier’s book. Soon after being offered in the Zig Zag Cafe, it became something of a cult hit in Seattle and Portland and spread to bars worldwide.
My version lowers the very high-proof green chartreuse to a smaller amount and adds in additional complexity with the rare Tasmanian pepper berry, some sweetness from a bit of simple syrup and the barest whisper of vanilla.
By using the extraordinary Monkey 47 gin (47 botanicals) and Chartreuse (130 botanicals) and assuming about 27 botanicals overlap (the formula for Chartreuse is a closely-guarded secret held by the Monks who make it), one glass has at least 151 different botanicals at its core (counting the Tasmanian pepper berry)!
Citizens, I hope you enjoy my take on this nearly forgotten but wonderful cocktail!
Battle on – The Generalissimo
¾ ounce Monkey 47 gin
¾ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ tablespoon green Chartreuse
4 Tasmanian pepper berries, lightly crushed – buy it at Amazon here
1 tablespoon simple syrup
2 drops of vanilla extract
Twist of Lime Zest for Garnish
Combine all in a shaker with ice and shake briskly for 20 seconds.
After shaking, the mix is poured through a fine-mesh cocktail strainer into a martini glass, so that it contains no ice or peppercorns and is served “straight up”.
The cocktail may have a light purple tinge from the pepper berries, this is normal. Garnish with a twist of lime zest and enjoy responsibly.