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Last Word Cocktail Recipe

Don’t underestimate the Last Word cocktail. Despite its short ingredient list and pale green hue, the prohibition potable is a sophisticated sipper that deserves a seat at the table.

Last Word Cocktail with Blue Background

If we had just one word to describe the Last Word cocktail it would be deceiving. Despite its light jade green appearance, the Last Word is a complex drink that packs a punch.

Much of that complexity comes from green Chartreuse produced solely in the French town of Voiron near Grenoble. Once we bought a bottle at our local bottle shop, it was only a matter of time until we made our first Last Word cocktail at home.

What Is the Last Word Cocktail?

Last Word Cocktail Next to Green Chartreuse Bottle
Chartreuse is one of four ingredients in the Last Word cocktail recipe.

A classic cocktail crafted with just four ingredients plus ice, the Last Word combines equal amounts of green Chartreuse, dry gin, maraschino liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice. Despite these equal measurements, the French liqueur dominates due to its herbaceous flavor and verdant hue.

But to call the Last Word herbaceous is only part of the drink’s story. Although citrus makes it a sour gin cocktail, maraschino liqueur provides a welcome hint of sweetness. In other words, one word isn’t enough to describe the Last Word.

Instead, it’s a cocktail that needs to be imbibed to be fully understood.

History of the Last Word Cocktail

Last Word Cocktail with White Background
Invented a century ago, the Last Word hasn’t drawn its last breath yet.

Research into the Last Word’s history reveals a past that started at the Detroit Athletic Club a century ago during the roaring days of Prohibition. The cocktail was apparently all the rage in the Motor City. Later, after it was featured in Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up in 1951, it drove off a cliff and fell into oblivion for decades.

But that wasn’t the Last Word’s last word…

The cocktail got a new life in the 20th century thanks to Murrary Stenson, a Seattle bartender, who pulled the Last Word out of oblivion and turned it into a cult cocktail. Today, the Last Word is a fixture at cocktail bars throughout the US and beyond.

Last Word Cocktail Ingredients

Last Word Cocktail Ingredients and Tools
The Last Word’s ingredients include green Chartreuse, dry gin, maraschino liqueur, freshly squeezed lime juice and ice cubes for shaking. Adding a maraschino cherry or two as garnish is optional.

We’ve already spilled the beans on the Last Word’s short list of ingredients. To avoid confusion, here they are again:

  • Green Chartreuse
  • Dry Gin
  • Maraschino Liqueur
  • Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Maraschino Cherry (optional garnish)

The ratio for the Last Word’s four liquids is a simple 1:1:1:1 calculation. Based on the size of our glass, we measured 3/4 ounce of each in our recipe. You could easily increase the measurement to 1 ounce or decrease it to 1/2 ounce based on your glass size. The drink will taste the same as long as you follow this ratio.

Last Word Cocktail Liquors
Dry gin, green Chartreuse and maraschino liqueur are the Last Word Cocktail’s three alcoholic ingredients.

The Last Word’s three liquors are green Chartreuse, dry gin and maraschino liqueur. Read on to see which brands we used to craft this cocktail.

Green Chartreuse

Green Chartreuse Bottle
We bought this bottle of green Chartreuse specifically to craft Last Word cocktails. It was produced in Voiron, France.

Green Chartreuse intrigued us before we bought it due to the French liqueur’s distinct green color and hefty price tag. We wondered if it tasted like absinthe and how we would use it.

As it turns out, green chartreuse tastes nothing like absinthe. Originally produced by Carthusian monks in 1737 at La Grande Chartreuse abbey, the liqueur’s ingredient list includes 130 herbs and plants. Its ABV is 55%.

We bought a bottle of Chartreuse Verte produced by Les Pères Chartreux. These fatherly figures have produced the verdantly green elixir at their Aiguenoire distillery in Entre-Deux-Guiers for over a century. Disclosure – This was the only brand of green Chartreuse available at our local liquor store.

Fun Fact
Colored with saffron, yellow Chartreuse is sweeter and has a lower ABV.

Dry Gin

Citadelle Gin Bottle
Keeping to the French theme, we used this bottle of gin produced in Cognac in our recipe.

While any quality dry gin will work in this recipe, we chose to use Citadelle dry gin from France. Produced in Cognac, the premium gin features 19 botanicals and has an ABV of 44%.

Maraschino Liqueur

Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Bottle
This bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur bucked our French theme since it was produced in Italy.

Luxardo produces our preferred maraschino liqueur. No surprise there since we’re already obsessed with the Veneto, Italy company’s maraschino cherries.

We initially bought this bottle of liqueur to craft Hemingway Daiquiris and have since used it to craft Aviation, Martinez and Last Word cocktails. It has a 32% ABV.

How To Craft a Last Word Cocktail

Last Word Cocktail Mis en Place
Once you assemble your ingredients and tools, it’s time to craft the Last Word cocktail. Pictured here is everything we assembled except for the ice that was chilling in the freezer.

Like other classic cocktails, the Last Word is incredibly easy to craft with the most basic of bar tools. We used the following bar tools in our recipe:

Don’t worry if you don’t have any or all of these tools. Each is inexpensive and you can improvise in a pinch if you don’t already own them.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Measuring Maraschino Liqueur for Last Word Cocktail Recipe
Measuring each liquid is easy since the Last Word recipe has a 1:1:1:1 ratio.

The first step is to measure each of the four liquid ingredients. We like to use a Japanese jigger to ensure accurate measurements and make clean pours. Accurate measurements are especially important in this recipe to achieve the cocktail’s intended flavor combination.

Click here to buy a Japanese jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Pouring Lime Juice for Last Word Cocktail Recipe
Pouring the liquids as you measure them is the efficient way to go.

The second step is to pour the liquids into a shaker as you measure each. We like to use a Boston shaker for this and other recipes since it doesn’t leak and is dishwasher safe.

Click here to buy a Boston shaker if you’re sick of leaky shakers too.

Shaker and Liquor Bottles for Last Word Cocktail Recipe
Once the liquids are measured and poured, it’s time to shake, rattle and roll.

The third step is the step where the magic happens. This is when you add ice to the shaker and vigorously shake for about 20 second until the the liquids are chilled and combined.

Crafted Last Word Cocktail
Once strained, the Last Word is ready to sip.

The final step is to strain the green cocktail into a martini or coupe glass. You can add a maraschino or two as garnish but be aware that doing so may will likely stain the drink’s green color.

Last Word Cocktail Variations

Last Word Cocktail with Black Background
Although we’re satisfied with the Last Word cocktail in its intended state, we understand if you want to tweak the recipe.

This recipe isn’t the final word on the Last Word cocktail. Feel free to experiment if you’re feeling creative or if you’re missing one of the recipe’s four ingredients. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Replace the green Chartreuse with yellow Chartreuse.
  • Replace the lime juice with lemon juice or orange juice.
  • Replace the gin with another liquor like mezcal, rye, scotch or tequila.

Last Word Cocktail Recipe

Last Word Cocktail with White Background Square

Last Word Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Your first Last Word cocktail won't be your last. The classic cocktail is as easy to sip as it is to craft with just four ingredients plus ice.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce dry gin
  • 3/4 ounce green chartreuse
  • 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice in a shaker.
  2. Add several ice cubes and shake for 20 seconds until the liquids are mixed and chilled.
  3. Strain into a martini or coupe glass.

Notes

You can optionally garnish this cocktail with a Maraschino cherry or two.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Disclosure

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Antonio

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Hola have you try the Last Word with Mezcal !! Oh yeah I live in Oakland California running a restaurant name Chop Bar can over and say hi. Salud

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Sunday 29th of May 2022

No but now we want to give it a try. Thanks for the tip!

Sasha

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

My favorite cocktail. Don't forget to fine strain to get rid of the cloudiness.

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