Sign up for our Newsletter

The pale green cocktail on the left is The Last Word and Joe’s Coleman’s The Last Dance is on the right. (Credit: Joe Coleman)

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 [email protected]