The Last Word is one of those cocktails which, when you consider the ingredients, seems like it shouldn’t work. A mix of equal parts gin, Maraschino liqueur, green Chartreuse and fresh lime juice, it appears to be a hodgepodge of bottles blindly pulled from the back bar. But then you taste it, and you find out that not only do these ingredients work together, they were meant for each other. It’s a great drink, but yet, while every bartender worth his or her jigger is familiar with the cocktail, it’s not the household name that it should be.
Created at the Detroit Athletic Club during Prohibition, liquor lore has it that the drink was a riff on a Gimlet—or a traditional sour—made with herbaceous Chartreuse in order to hide the rancid flavor of bathtub gin. At the time, the cocktail was popular enough to be included in Ted Saucier's 1951 cocktail book, Bottoms Up, but disappeared not long afterwards from collective bartender memory. It remained dormant until 2004, when Murray Stenson resurrected the cocktail at the Zig Zag Café in Seattle. It was an immediate hit with both patrons and bartenders. Tasting the cocktail, it’s easy to understand why.