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Last Word Cocktail

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

Last Word Cocktail with Blue Background
Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Discover more colorful cocktails.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Research into the Last Word’s history reveals a past that started at the Detroit Athletic Club a century ago during the roaring days before 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.

Discover more of our favorite Pre-Prohibition cocktails.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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

  • Dry Gin
  • Green Chartreuse
  • 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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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%.

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

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.

Dry Gin

Citadelle Citron Blue Bottle on White Background
Keeping to the French theme, we used this bottle of gin produced in Cognac in our recipe. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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%.

Discover our favorite gin cocktails.

Maraschino Liqueur

Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur Bottle
This bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur bucked our French theme since it was produced in Italy. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Luxardo produces our preferred maraschino liqueur. No surprise there since we’re obsessed with the Italian 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.

Discover our favorite maraschino liqueur cocktails.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The first step is to measure each of the four liquid ingredients. We 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.

Buy a Japanese jigger from Amazon if you need a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Pouring Lime Juice for Last Word Cocktail Recipe
Pouring the liquids as you measure them is the efficient way to go. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Shaker and Liquor Bottles for Last Word Cocktail Recipe
Once the liquids are measured and poured, it’s time to shake, rattle and roll. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

The final step is to strain the green cocktail into a martini or coupe glass.

Crafted Last Word Cocktail
Once strained, the Last Word is ready to sip. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

You can add a maraschino or two as garnish but be aware that doing so may will likely stain the drink’s green color.

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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.

Discover 10 essential bar tools for the home mixologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Last Word cocktail?

The Last Word cocktail is an herbaceous classic cocktail crafted with green Chartreuse, dry gin, maraschino liqueur and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Where was the Last Word cocktail invented?

The Last Word was invented in Detroit.

What are the ingredients in a Last Word cocktail?

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

What’s the best dry gin for a Last Word cocktail?

We like to use French dry gin but any dry gin will work.

Is the Last Word cocktail shaken or stirred?

The Last Word is shaken, not stirred.

What type of glass is best for the Last Word cocktail?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.

Did you craft this cocktail? If so, please rate the recipe below.

Last Word Cocktail with White Background
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4.58 from 7 votes

Last Word Recipe

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.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drink
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Calories: 187kcal

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce dry gin
  • ¾ ounce green chartreuse
  • ¾ ounce maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • ice cubes (for shaking)

Instructions

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

Notes

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

Estimated Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.03mg
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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. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
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.

Funding
We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft this cocktail.

Original Publication Date: December 20, 2021

Recipe Rating




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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