Is there anything more festive than a lightly fizzing glass of champagne? If you’re breaking out the bubbly this New Year’s Eve, try this sparkling twist on a classic prohibition-era cocktail, the Last Word.
Ever tried a Last Word before? If you’re into gin cocktails and like a sharp, herbaceous, citrusy profile with a good amount bite, it might just become your new favorite — it’s certainly one of mine. The typical make up is equal parts gin, lime juice, maraschino liqueur, and green Chartreuse.
If you caught my recipe for Verte Chaud, you know I have a thing for Chartreuse, an herbal liqueur made by French monks from a 400-year-old recipe. It comes in both green and yellow varieties (yellow is a bit milder), and is made with a secret blend of 130 herbs and plants. It’s a truly interesting spirit with a very long history — the entire operation is still overseen by just two monks. I’m obsessed with the smooth but bracing herbal backbone it gives a mixed drink, but I also love it on the rocks as a digestif. Be warned: it’s not the cheapest bottle on the shelf, but I really do feel that despite the sticker shock, it’s a worthwhile addition to your ‘special bottles’ collection.
For this cocktail, we’re taking the basic parameters of a Last Word — Chartreuse included — then simply topping things off with a healthy pour of Champagne (or Cava, which I frequently use in its place). You’ll end up with a drink every bit as sharp, tart, and herbaceous as the Last Word itself, but with more refreshing acidity and peppy effervescence. It’s dry as a bone, so if you like things on the sweeter side, you may want to give another cocktail a try this year.
Final pro tip: when you’re mixing Champagne cocktails and only topping off a few glasses, it’s always frustrating to end up with half of an open bottle going flat in your fridge. If you’re looking for something to keep your bubbly, well… bubbly, the best method I’ve found (and to be quite honest the only method I think works) is argon gas displacement via handy little preservers like this zzysh by Vinturi.
- .5 oz gin
- .5 oz maraschino liqueur (Luxardo preferred)
- .5 oz fresh squeezed/strained lime juice
- .5 oz green Chartreuse
- 2 oz Champagne or Cava to top
- Shake everything but the champagne in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Strain into chilled flutes and top with Champagne.