Last Word Cocktail

The Last Word cocktail

Matt Taylor-Gross / Food Styling by Lucy Simon

1 drink

This Prohibition-era cocktail comes together with just a few ingredients and manages to pack a seriously boozy punch while maintaining balance. It’s a magical combination of gin, Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice that boasts both sweet and sour notes, as well as a deeply complex herbaceous bitter flavor. 

The Last Word originates back to 1915, just a few years before Prohibition. It was largely forgotten shortly after it made its debut, and remained so until the turn of the 21st century. Whereas the 80s and early 90s are known for the surge in tiki cocktails and overly-sweet sours and punches, the early 2000s saw a resurgence in stronger, simpler cocktails, resurrecting bygone Prohibition drinks. Since then, the Last Word has been revived in third-wave cocktails bars across the United States by bartenders who appreciate the value of this straightforward yet deeply complex drink. 

The Last Word gets its unmistakable light green hue from chartreuse, a liqueur made from macerated herbs and plants. Historically, chartreuse has been made by Carthusian monks at a monastery north of Grenoble, France, and the recipe for the 130 herbs and plants steeped for this high-proof liquor is proprietary knowledge of the monastery and has been since the early 1600s when King Henry IV of France approached the monks with a recipe. It has been tweaked slightly since then, but remains a secret. While there are a few types of Chartreuse that the Carthusian monks make, the Last Word calls for Green Chartreuse, which is perhaps the most common. Beware of its lightly sweet and herbaceous flavor, this liqueur packs a real punch: it’s around 110 proof or 55% ABV, making it a seriously high-proof spirit. 

The combination of sweet and herbaceous green chartreuse and maraschino liqueur bring balance to the juniper-forward gin and tart lime juice in this cocktail. The most well-known maraschino liqueur is made by Luxardo, which has a recipe that is over 200 years old. This liqueur is made from sour mascara cherries which are harvested early in the summer. The cherries are macerated in a large vat with a few varieties of herbs for multiple years, and then distilled. Once distilled, the liqueur is sweetened with simple syrup. The result is a balanced, sweet and herbaceous liqueur that is key to a few classic cocktails including the Aviation and the Brooklyn. What’s made the Last Word endure over time is its clean balance of excellent ingredients, but remember to sip slowly since this is a high-proof drink. 



  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain the drink into a chilled coupe.

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