Given the intoxicating nature of the subject, it seems appropriate to start a cocktail column with the Last Word. Invented in the Twenties at the Detroit Athletic Club (which sounds my kind of sports facility), it is one of the greatest bittersweet cocktails. When I ordered one at Untitled, the restaurant of the Whitney Museum in New York, the bartender said, ‘That’s my favourite too.’ In his fine book Boozehound, US spirits writer Jason Wilson says it is ‘definitely not a poolside drink… It’s a thinking person’s drink. A drink with a swagger.’ The four constituents of this pale green concoction amalgamate with a memorable perfection you find in few other cocktails. Though simple to make, the Last Word has a drawback. Its ingredients include two slight rarities – maraschino liqueur and Green Chartreuse – that don’t come cheap. I recently acquired a bottle of the latter costing £31.70 (including p&p) from an online supplier solely for this drink. Yes, it’s that good. By Christopher Hirst
For one drink:
20ml fresh lime juice
20ml green Chartreuse
20ml maraschino liqueur
Pour ingredients into shaker, add plenty of large cubes and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass.