Last Word – Original Detroit Athletic Club Recipe


The Last Word cocktail was invented by Frank Fogarty around the start of prohibition in Detroit, Michigan at The Detroit Athletic Club. The Last Word didn’t really leave the confines of this private boys club and was eventually forgotten about and lost to time. Oddly enough it somehow made its way into the 1950s cocktail book Bottoms Up! and survived in it’s pages just as it was fading from memory.

The cocktail wasn’t commonly made again until 2004 when Seattle bartender Murray Stenson found a copy of “Bottoms Up!”. He added this forgotten cocktail to his Seattle bar’s drink menu and it was a hit. The Last Word became popular in the Pacific Northwest, eventually was made on television as the hot new Seattle cocktail and soon spread to the rest of the country.


I personally love the taste of this cocktail. The Last Word has a clean bright herbal, cherry, citrus flavor that is wonderful but unfortunately not for everyone. If you have ever had Green Chartreuse before and are not a fan then this cocktail will not change your mind. the Green Chartreuse flavor is not too strong but its still the most forward flavor.

Most important Ingredient

The most important ingredient in the Last Word cocktail is the gin. The dryness of the gin is what saves this cocktail from being way too flavorful and herbaceous. The drier and cleaner the gin is the better. Don’t use a fancy flavorful sipping gin in this cocktail, because the Green Chartreuse is already such a strong unique herbal flavor that any more strong herbal flavor is just too much. The lime juice and Maraschino Liqueur help cut that flavor and add more complexity but its the clean dryness of the gin that mellows the drink. I personally feel using vodka instead of gin makes for a more balanced cocktail, but the classic recipe calls for dry gin. Something like a Bombay dry gin (normal Bombay, not Sapphire) and Beefeater work very well in this.

Last Word Cocktail
Last Word Cocktail

Last Word Recipe

  • 20 mls (2/3 oz) Dry Gin
  • 20 mls (2/3 oz) Green Chartreuse
  • 20 mls (2/3 oz) Maraschino Liqueur
  • 20 mls (2/3 oz) Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker. Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted. Strain into glass to remove ice shards.

ABV = 32%

Originated from Detroit MI, USA

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