It’s been said that fighting is just two people trying to get the last word in first. The Last Word cocktail could be considered one of the first in a long lineage of box step cocktails. Perfectly balancing citrus, herbaceous and bite, this equal-parts cocktail is a template for hundreds of drink variations.
It was originally created at the prohibition-era Detroit Athletic Club and was popular throughout the 1930s — though it wasn’t found in print until 1951 when it was published in the cocktail book, “Bottoms Up!” It fell off the map for a while, but was revived in the early 2000s by the Seattle bar scene.
It is easy to put a personal stamp on it: combine your favorite base spirit, an appropriately paired citrus and two liqueurs. (Most go with Chartreuse as one of the liqueurs, because it gives the drink its notable vegetal flavors … but it’s not necessary.)
Around the second week of May, professional and home bartenders alike take to the Instagram campaign #wehavethelastword. During this time, the drinkstagram community posts its favorite variations of The Last Word.
Check out my recipe for The Last Dance, a bittersweet riff that also goes well with the drink’s original base spirit, gin:
The Last Word The Last Dance
3/4oz Gin 3/4oz Strawberry infused Blanco Tequila
3/4oz Maraschino Liqueur 3/4oz Aperol
3/4oz Green Chartreuse 3/4oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/4oz Lime Juice 3/4oz Lime Juice
Preparing The Last Dance:
To infuse the tequila, clean and quarter one pound of strawberries for each liter of tequila. Let infuse in a glass jar for about three 3 days or to taste. Strain and discard the strawberries. To prepare either drink, shake the drink until chilled, strain into a coupe and serve. Enjoy!
The author Joe Coleman is the Lead Mixologist at the Southold boutique catering company Grace & Grit. His focus is on creating craft cocktails with fresh, homemade ingredients for both large-scale events and entertaining at home. Follow his cocktail adventures on Instagram @doublespeak_cocktails or contact him for your own event firstname.lastname@example.org.