Retro Cocktail for December: The Last Word
This “Prohibition-Era” cocktail predates Prohibition, as it was on the menu of the Detroit Athletic Club in 1916 for 35 cents. (Gyms used to serve cocktails?!) The recipe itself is a curious testament to the quality of the Gin back then. Four ingredients, all in equal measure. Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liqueur, fresh-squeezed Lime juice—all very strong, potent, almost overwhelming—to balance out the questionable quality and taste of the bathtub Gin. Popular for a time, although after Prohibition “The Last Word” fell out of favor, and by the end of WWII, it had all but disappeared. Except for an entry in Ted Saucier’s sexy 1951 cocktail manual: Bottoms Up. (See images above and below.) It wasn’t until 2004, when Saucier’s book, and the drink, were rediscovered by a curious Seattle bartender named Murray Stenson at the Zig Zag Café. And like grunge music, it quickly spread to Portland, then to cocktail bars in major cities around the world. Today, “The Last Word” is one of the more flavorful of the classic cocktails. And even though the quality of Gin in America has markedly improved since "The Noble Experiment", the original recipe still retains a pleasing, surprising balance between sour, pungent, bitter, and sweet.
THE LAST WORD 1 part Plymouth Gin 1 part Green Chartreuse 1 part Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 1 part fresh-squeezed Lime juice Shake all ingredients over ice, then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Detroit Athletic Club, ca. 1916 where you can get a workout and a drink!
Maybe I need drawings of naked women in my cocktail book!