The Last Word, according to Ted Saucier, was created in the early 20th century in Detroit. The first mention of it is being served at the Detroit Athletic Club (where it is still served by the way!) the drink made its way to New York thanks to a vaudeville actor and remained popular until World War 2. After the war though the drink fell off the map, forgotten until “rediscovered” in the early 2000s by a bartender at the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle. From there it spread across the country and inspired other cocktails, the most famous being the “Final Ward” which swaps out the gin for rye whiskey and the limes for lemons.
One part gin
One part lime juice
One part green Chartreuse
One part maraschino liquor
Fill shaker with ice. Add all ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The Last Word is an interesting cocktail, equal parts of three liquors and lime juice. One is herbal, one is sweet, one is sour, and one is pungent. Looking at the recipe you wouldn’t think it would work. It SHOULDN’T work. This cocktail is a mess. Yet, it does. It’s a perfectly balanced drink. Sharp and contrasting flavors combine into a lovely drink that goes down smooth and is easy on the eyes. Cheers!
I continue working my way through New York City’s borough’s this week (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island) with the Queens’ cocktail. The Queens most resembles a Perfect Martini, a martini with equal part of dry and sweet vermouth, that has had pineapple juice added to it. If you’ve been following the Burroughs cocktail you’ll also know that this cocktail is nearly identical to the Bronx, which happens to also be more popular as a cocktail, except having pineapple instead of orange juice.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. dry vermouth
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. pineapple juice
Fill shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
The Queens is a perfectly cromulent cocktail. Especially if you’re a fan of gin or pineapple… There really isn’t anything that makes it stick out though. It’s enjoyable but isn’t memorable enough that’d you’d order it at the bar. Or maybe it’s just unfair to compare it to the Manhattan? Probably unfair to compare most cocktails to the Manhattan. I do think some small changes would go a long way in making the cocktail more enjoyable the first among them are a little lemon juice and an egg white. The lemon juice would brighten the cocktail and add some depth to the drink and the egg white would make it silky smooth going down…
Last week I highlighted that most iconic and classic of American cocktails, the Manhattan. As an aside in that post I mentioned that all five of New York City’s boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Bronx) have cocktails named after them. Everyone knows about the Manhattan but I don’t think many know about the other four. I tested this by visiting some local bars and asking for a Staten Island and a Queens, only to have blank stares in return. So consider this a public service message and just another example of my commitment to education and life-long learning!
The Bronx cocktail, like most older cocktails has multiple origin stories. One of which insists that the cocktail was created in Philadelphia! Though it seems that either a Joseph S. Sormani or a Johnnie Solan is responsible for the cocktail. The cocktail itself seems to be a riff on the Perfect Martini, adding orange juice to the drink.
1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1/3 oz. dry vermouth
1/2 oz. orange juice
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail or martini glass. Garnish with orange peel.
Before I drank this cocktail I had some worries because it puts me in a unique position. This, I think, is the one of the few cocktails I know solely through my own work. I’ve never had a Bronx made by anyone else. I only have my own efforts to compare with each other. What if I made the cocktail wrong? I worried I might be doing this cocktail a disservice.
It turns out my worries were for naught. The Bronx is delicious. It tastes a lot like a smooth Perfect Martini laced throughout with the citrusy tang of orange juice, which is especially strong at the finish. I only wish I were drinking it in a classier establishment than my apartment…
Remember the Sidecar from a couple weeks back? The White Lady is a lot like that. Except it has gin instead of brandy. Oh, and it has an egg white in it! A real Sidecar might have egg white in it as well, I don’t know. When I’m doing research on these drinks before picking which one to make the ‘egg white’ on the list of ingredients is always listed as optional. So, until now I’ve never put one in. Tonight was the night though. The White Lady seemed too simple, too plain, of a drink to omit the egg white and so I dove right in with only a few reservations! (If you are feeling queasy about using egg whites in your cocktails I found this post useful.)
2 oz. gin
1 oz. triple sec
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 egg white
Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake. Add cracked ice to shaker and shake well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Lemon wheel garnish is optional.
Some bartenders strain twice when using egg white. Do what ever you are comfortable with.
Oh, oh, oh! So silky, so smooth! I wish I had not treated the egg whites as optional before! I don’t know if I’d have anything to say about the White Lady if I had skipped the egg white. I have Tanqueray gin right now and it has a more robust flavor profile than Beefeater and despite the sour of the lemon juice and the sweetness of triple sec I can still taste the gin. It’s the only thing disturbing my palate as this drink goes down. It’s the only hiccup in what is a soothingly smooth cocktail.