There’s nothing like the first sip of a favorite cocktail to melt away the stress of a long, exhausting week.  I met Maura at Green Street tonight and felt that magic happen as I took a sip of the Last Word. This Prohibition-era drink developed at the Detroit Athletic Club always hits the spot.  How is it that I have yet to write about this fantastic cocktail? It’s a perfect combination of sweet, tart, and herbal—it’s just brilliant.  And this formula of equal parts of gin, maraschino liqueur, green Chartreuse and lime, can also be used to make some equally delicious variations.  Two particularly good ones are the Final Ward and the Monte Cassino.

On paper the Last Word is a battle of flavors.  In reality, however, there is no fist fighting amongst these four ingredients for top billing.  They blend together perfectly, while each still holds its own.  You taste the botanicals of the gin, the tart maraschino, the amazing herbals of the Chartreuse and the sharp freshness of the lime.

One of my favorite liqueurs is Chartreuse.  In this cocktail it shines.  I first drank this wonderful stuff as I watched, Into the Great Silence, a documentary about Carthusian monks who in addition to living a solitary existence have also have been making Chartreuse at the Grande Chartreuse monastery, France since the 18th century.  Legend has it that no one monk knows the entire recipe; instead its distributed amongst three different monks.  Originally made for medicinal purposes, over 130 herbs and plants give this liqueur layers upon layers of flavor.  It adds herbal complexity to the Last Word, but is also delicious with a little sparkling water and fresh citrus.

Here’s the recipe: (I enjoyed one at Green Street and then came home and made myself one.)

¾ oz Plymouth gin

¾ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

¾ oz green Chartreuse

¾ oz fresh lime juice

Shake over ice. Strain. Enjoy!

The Last Word is well, the last word in cocktail complexity.  Cheers!

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