Our resident beverage buff, Eric Twardzik, makes the case for green chartreuse in a classic (and famously potent) cocktail.
Illustration by John Molesworth.
Last words must be chosen carefully. The right combination can grant immortality (“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my county” – Nathan Hale), while a clumsy selection becomes a trivia punch line (“It can’t end like this. Tell them I said something” – Pancho Villa).
Every element in the Last Word, a cocktail created at the Detroit Club during America’s experiment with temperance, is necessary. This equal-parts cocktail has four components, each of which make a distinct contribution to the whole.
Its most famous ingredient is Green Chartreuse, a 110-proof cordial produced by the Chartreuse monks of France. The spirit, which traces its origins to an ancient manuscript gifted to the order in 1605, is made with a secret recipe involving 130 plants and herbs. Even in anno domini 2020, just two monks know its full recipe.
Green Chartreuse is strong, herbal, and sweet. So it’s best complemented by a no-nonsense London Dry gin that can dry it out. Both spirits are mellowed by round, cherry-based maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice binds the booze together while adding a fresh acidity.
Once you’ve strained this potent mixture into a frosty coupe, find a comfortable armchair to sink into, and bring a good book—you’re done for the night.
1 part gin
1 part Green Chartreuse
1 part maraschino liqueur
1 part fresh lime juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled, and then double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a speared Luxardo cherry and serve.