The craft cocktail boom has seen countless riffs on the classics, some great and some not so great. Quintessential libations, like the Manhattan or the Negroni, have seemed to offer the best vehicles for experimentation, partly due to their simplicity but also their familiarity with the drinking public. It’s one thing for a bartender to dream up a great drink, but he or she must get a patron to actually order it in the end. Modern cocktail magician Phil Ward, of Death & Co. fame, has taken artistic liberties with countless classics over the years, his Final Ward being a standout example.
This cocktail is a riff on the Prohibition-era classic Last Word, which we at Drinkhacker HQ hold in very high regard. In place of the original gin, Mr. Ward calls for 100 proof rye whiskey while also subbing the lime for lemon juice. It’s as simple as the original with many of its hallmarks, the bright, herbal Chartreuse and nutty, sweet maraschino liqueur being most familiar. Whiskey does, however, add a bolder edge with its brown sugar sweetness and rye spice cutting through the herbs and citrus and softening some of the Last Word’s more piquant qualities.
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz rye whiskey (100 proof)
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz maraschino liqueur
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.