This clean, classic drink is beautifully balanced. Plenty herbal, a little astringent, a little acidic, and just a touch sweet, The Last Word cocktail is a perfect way to bid farewell to summer — and it's equally lovely anytime.
Why we love this recipe
The Last Word is a real favorite among Prohibition-era drinks. Made with equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, Luxardo, and fresh lime juice, its simplicity belies a perfectly balanced, sophisticated flavor profile. As will happen with classic cocktails, the recipe seems to have slipped into oblivion from about 1930 until 2004, when it experienced a resurgence.
This cocktail is:
- An elegant classic
- Easy to make and to scale up for a party
- Especially well-suited to balmy summer days
- But equally appropriate at any time of year
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- You'll start with a good London dry gin. I've pictured one of my favorites, Bombay Sapphire. I also tend to have a bottle of either Hendricks or Tanqueray on hand at all times. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Plymouth, The Botanist, and Aviation would make great choices, too. Each has a different flavor profile, but they all work nicely, as will your favorite brand. You can peep the section below for some historical trivia about the gin typically used in Prohibition-era cocktails.
- Since 1605, Chartreuse has been produced in France by Carthusian monks from a secret recipe that includes 130 plants. Green Chartreuse, the original product, rings in at 110 proof and is stronger and less sweet than the lesser-known yellow variety. It adds spicy, herbal, and sweet characteristics to this cocktail.
- Since 1821, Luxardo maraschino liqueur has been produced in Italy from sour Marasco cherries. It’s clear, relatively dry for a liqueur, and has more pleasant, complex bitterness and almond notes (from the crushed cherry pits used to make it) than cherry flavor. You can use another good-quality maraschino liqueur if you prefer.
- Freshly squeezed lime juice adds acidity and freshness to this drink, and is nonnegotiable.
- To garnish traditionally, you can choose between a Luxardo cherry and a lime twist. (Here's how to make your own boozy maraschino cherries, in case you feel like leveling things the heck up.)
Fun fact: since this is a Prohibition-era cocktail, it would have been made with bathtub gin. You probably know that bathtub gin is the name for just about any cheap alcohol made at home by amateurs. But did you know that the “bathtub” comes from the fact that bottles used during Prohibition tended to be too tall to top off with water in the sink, so they were filled in the bathtub?
I’d always kinda pictured bathtubs full of homemade liquor. Which makes no sense, since you need a closed container to make gin. Maybe that was just me. But in case not, now you know.
How to make it
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make The Last Word cocktail. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Pour in the gin, Chartreuse, Luxardo, and lime juice.
- Shake until very well chilled.
- Strain into a cocktail or coupe glass.
- Garnish with a Luxardo cherry or a lime twist. That's it!
Expert tips and FAQs
Sure thing. To make eight drinks, up to three hours before serving time, pour into a pitcher: one cup gin, one cup green Chartreuse, one cup maraschino liqueur, and one cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Give it a good stir and pop it into the fridge. To serve, divide among glasses and garnish each with a Luxardo cherry.
More favorite classic gin cocktails
- 1 ounce (30 ml) gin
- 1 ounce (30 ml) green Chartreuse
- 1 ounce (30 ml) Luxardo
- 1 ounce (30 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- Pour ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a Luxardo cherry or a lime twist.
- If you like, you can batch this cocktail for a party. To make eight drinks, up to three hours before serving time, pour into a pitcher: one cup gin, one cup green Chartreuse, one cup maraschino liqueur, and one cup freshly squeezed lime juice. Give it a good stir and pop it into the fridge. To serve, divide among glasses and garnish each with a Luxardo cherry.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305