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The Last Word


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93 replies to this topic

#1 birder53

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 04:53 PM

I had the great pleasure to drink at the Zig Zag Cafe on not one, but two nights during my vacation to Seattle and environs last week. Thanks first to Drinkboy, Robert Hess, for letting us know we could get an Aviation there. We got a whole lot more! Owners Kacy and Ben, along with Murray Stenson and Eamon, served up wonderful drinks and great conversation. I had my Aviation (wonderful :biggrin:) followed by a Trident and then Murray suggested a Last Word. For those who love maraschino liqueur, I think this is even better than the Aviation! Murray said he found it in a book. When I tried googling it all I got were some foreign sites.

Anyway, here is Murray's Last Word:

1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy!

We also had the pleasure of meeting and drinking with Robert Hess and yes, the man really does carry his own supply of bitters around with him. :blink: They take their drinks very seriously at Zig Zag and Robert puts them to the test. We also had wonderful Brandy Crustas, Pegu, McKoy, Old Fashioned, tasted several gins, chartreuse, strega and absinthe - served the proper way - flaming and all! The only sad part of the trip was that Murray was off Saturday night, our last night! It's a long ride from NJ to Seattle, but I have to find a reason to do it again soon. :wink:
KathyM

#2 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 04:59 PM

I had the great pleasure to drink at the Zig Zag Cafe on not one, but two nights during my vacation to Seattle and environs last week. 

<snip>

Anyway, here is Murray's Last Word

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I had one of these a few weeks back at Zig Zag when Murray was perfecting it, and it is truly unique!

~Anita
Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

#3 slkinsey

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 07:27 AM

I have GOT to try this one. I love Chartreuse (and have a gigantic bottle of it), but have had a hard time working it into cocktails (mostly Audrey's Tantris Sidecar these days).
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#4 birder53

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 09:10 AM

I have GOT to try this one.  I love Chartreuse (and have a gigantic bottle of it), but have had a hard time working it into cocktails (mostly Audrey's Tantris Sidecar these days).

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Can you share the Sidecar recipe? I really like those!
KathyM

#5 slkinsey

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 07:55 PM

Can you share the Sidecar recipe?  I really like those!

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From this thread:

Tantris Sidecar
1 oz Courvoisier VS Cognac
1/2 oz Busnel Calvados (or other good quality)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (1-1)
1/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
Garnish:  Lemon Twist
Sugar half the rim on a martini glass.  Measure all ingredients into a mixing
glass, add ice, shake well, and strain into martini glass.  Garnish with a big
lemon twist.

Enjoy!
Audrey

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Just mixed up a Last Word this evening for myself, bergerka and JAZ. Great cocktail. Janet and I were both struck by the way the cocktail evolved in the glass. The first sip was sweet and the maraschino came through very strongly, making us think that it wasn't balanced quite right. But both the sweetness and maraschino had married with the other flavors into something that didn't speak too strongly of any single flavor by the second sip. Indeed, every sip was a little different. Very interesting and enigmatic cocktail, somewhat evocative of the Twentieth Century Cocktail in being hard to nail down. And talk about a cool-looking drink! Great green color. I garnished ours with lime twists.

I wonder what this would be like with a touch of Pernod...
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#6 birder53

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 06:09 AM

From this thread:
Just mixed up a Last Word this evening for myself, bergerka and JAZ.  Great cocktail.  Janet and I were both struck by the way the cocktail evolved in the glass.  The first sip was sweet and the maraschino came through very strongly, making us think that it wasn't balanced quite right.  But both the sweetness and maraschino had married with the other flavors into something that didn't speak too strongly of any single flavor by the second sip.  Indeed, every sip was a little different.  Very interesting and enigmatic cocktail, somewhat evocative of the Twentieth Century Cocktail in being hard to nail down.  And talk about a cool-looking drink!  Great green color.  I garnished ours with lime twists.

I wonder what this would be like with a touch of Pernod...

View Post


I wondered what would be an appropriate garnish. I thought of the lime or maybe a cherry - it looks naked otherwise. I still have to buy chartreuse and now you have added calvados to my list. The fun just never ends!

Question about Audrey's recipe - what does she mean by simple syrup (1-1)?
KathyM

#7 plattetude

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 06:41 AM

Question about Audrey's recipe - what does she mean by simple syrup (1-1)?

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That'd be simple syrup made with equal measures of water and sugar -- e.g. 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water (which will yield maybe 1 1/4 cups syrup, a substantial supply).

Christopher

#8 DrinkBoy

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 07:14 AM

Kathy,

I'm glad I had a chance to meet up with you while you were in Seattle! And especially glad you had a chance to experience the Zig Zag, and Murray. Sorry he wasn't there on your last night.

Another Chartreause cocktail that I am really fond of is the "Tailspin"

Tailspin
3/4 ounce Gin
3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
1 dash Campari
Stir with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist and cherry.

It's not one that you see very often, and when you do, they usually list it's recipe as basically the same thing as the Bijou (which uses a dash or orange bitters instead of the Campari), but frankly I think the Campari really turns this drink into something special.

-Robert

#9 birder53

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 09:28 AM

We bought the chartreuse (and calvados) and made The Last Word last night. Amazing! I couldn't really appreciate the complexity of the flavors when it was the second or third drink of the night. :blink: The chartreuse adds a spice flavor - nutmeg?- to the maraschino and lime. Incredible combination of flavors!
KathyM

#10 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 04:55 PM

I finally bought a bottle of green Chartreuse tonight so that I could make a Last Word, and, using Tanqueray as the gin, it has lived up to its billing. I think Sam nailed it here:

Just mixed up a Last Word this evening for myself, bergerka and JAZ.  Great cocktail.  Janet and I were both struck by the way the cocktail evolved in the glass.  The first sip was sweet and the maraschino came through very strongly, making us think that it wasn't balanced quite right.  But both the sweetness and maraschino had married with the other flavors into something that didn't speak too strongly of any single flavor by the second sip.  Indeed, every sip was a little different.  Very interesting and enigmatic cocktail, somewhat evocative of the Twentieth Century Cocktail in being hard to nail down.  And talk about a cool-looking drink!  Great green color.  I garnished ours with lime twists.

I wonder what this would be like with a touch of Pernod...

View Post


This prompts the question: has anyone dropped a dash of Pernod in there? I'm thinking that this might get elevated in the way that the Pernod lifts the Corpse Reviver #2....
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#11 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 09:10 AM

As this is the Last Word thread, I feel it is the place to mention the two books which mention said cocktail:

* "Bottoms Up," by Ted Saucier, 1951.
* "Jones Complete Barguide," by Stan Jones, 1977.

Would anyone be able to post the actual recipes and instructions from both books?


Thanks!

George

#12 jazzyjeff

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 11:33 AM

Hi George,

Here is the recipe from Bottoms Up:

1/4 Dry Gin
1/4 Maraschino
1/4 Chartreuse
1/4 Lime Juice

Serve in a cocktail glass

The drink is courtesy of Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit.

It also says "This cocktail was introduced around here about thirty years ago by Frank Foggerty, who was very well known in vaudeville. He was called the 'Dublin Minstrel' and was a very fine monologue artist."

Cheers

J

#13 eje

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 12:27 PM

Is it under a different name in "Jones Complete BarGuide"?

I don't find it under "Last Word" or "The Last Word" in my copy (1977).
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#14 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 02:24 PM

Is it under a different name in "Jones Complete BarGuide"?

I don't find it under "Last Word" or "The Last Word" in my copy (1977).

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From Drinkboy.com:

http://www.drinkboy....s/LastWord.html

"It was in the process of searching though the Jones book recently that the Last Word cocktail was re-discovered by the bartenders at the Zig Zag Cafe, and it has been one of their more popular drinks ever since."

#15 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 03:36 PM

As Ted Saucier simply lists "Chartreuse", how do we know he meant green chartreuse and not the yellow type?

#16 eje

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 04:06 PM

Cross checked all the receipts indexed to Green Chartreuse in my Jones Complete BarGuide. Nothing involving equal parts Green Chartreuse, gin, lime, and Maraschino.

I also skimmed most of the text and didn't see anything promising.

I'll check the Yellow Chartreuse and Maraschino receipts; but, there are a lot more of them, and I need to start making dinner.

The Jones bar guide is a little oddly organized. All the receipts are organized alphabetically, and then the index is done based on ingredient(s). While there is a lot of introductory text, the recipe section is quite terse.

Example:

Lovum' and Leavem'
Cocktail Glass - Shake

3/4 oz lime juice
1 egg white
1 oz gin
1/2 oz triple sec
1/4 oz grenadine
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#17 jmfangio

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 08:16 PM

Without a doubt, one of my favorite cocktails. The first time I made one, I took a sip, and thought, hmmm...I'm not sure if I like this. But by the time I got to the bottom of the glass, I couldn't wait to make another.

A few weeks ago I found some fresh yuzu at a Japanese market, and substituted that for the lime juice. All I can say is, wow! Took the drink to a whole other level.
"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

#18 Fay Jai

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 12:17 PM

Murray Stenson = God

~Jason
"So, do you want me to compromise your meal for you?" - Waitress at Andy's Diner, Dec 4th, 2004.

The Fat Boy Guzzle --- 1/2 oz each Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, Southern Comfort, Absolut Citron over ice in a pint glass, squeeze 1/2 a lemon and top with 7-up...Credit to the Bar Manager at the LA Cafe in Hong Kong who created it for me on my hire. Thanks, Byron. Hope you are well!

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#19 birder53

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 12:46 PM

Murray Stenson = God

~Jason

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Amen. :smile:
KathyM

#20 eje

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 12:49 PM

[...]
"It was in the process of searching though the Jones book recently that the Last Word cocktail was re-discovered by the bartenders at the Zig Zag Cafe, and it has been one of their more popular drinks ever since."

View Post

Huh, funny.

I haven't read the whole Jones' Complete; but, I went through all the cross indexed Green Chartreuse, Yellow Chartreuse, and Maraschino cocktails last weekend and found no trace of the Last Word or anything similar. I didn't go through all the Gin cocktail; but, that just seems too painful. I get eye strain just thinking about it. There are a few similar drinks; but, nothing that contains all four of the listed ingredients in equal parts.

Does anyone have a version of the Jones' Complete that contains it?

Might have to drop a note to Mr. Hess and ask if he remembers the incident in question.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#21 eje

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 09:56 AM

From Drinkboy.com:

http://www.drinkboy....s/LastWord.html

"It was in the process of searching though the Jones book recently that the Last Word cocktail was re-discovered by the bartenders at the Zig Zag Cafe, and it has been one of their more popular drinks ever since."

View Post

George,

I asked Robert about this. He said it was a mistake on the website he thought he had corrected. The bartenders at the Zig Zag were looking through Saucier's "Bottom's Up", not the "Jones' Complete BarGuide", when they discovered The Last Word.

Whew, I'm glad I asked him before going through the gin recipes in "Jones`..." one by one! Reading through all those 70s era recipes was starting to make me think I really needed a bottle of Galliano for my home bar.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#22 Kent Wang

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 04:49 PM

P. G. Wodehouse in My Man Jeeves:

As an instance of what I mean, I remember meeting Monty Byng in Bond
Street one morning, looking the last word in a grey check suit, and I
felt I should never be happy till I had one like it. I dug the address
of the tailors out of him, and had them working on the thing inside the
hour.


A bit like the expression The Darb.

#23 KatieLoeb

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 10:48 PM

After reading this thread earlier in the evening, and realizing I had all that I needed on hand, I am so impressionable that the following resulted:

Posted Image

I'd forgotten how much I absolutely love these. :wub:

I'm on my second one. Damn all of you. Every last one of you.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
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Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#24 slkinsey

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 09:39 AM

The Last Word cocktail offers us a very interesting look into the cocktail revival and the evolution of cocktail culture. And we all played a part!

Back in 2004 when Murray Stenson put the Last Word on the menu at Zig Zag, it was an obscure cocktail that practically no one had ever heard about. If you walked into a top cocktail bar other than Zig Zag and asked for a Last Word, the probability is that you would have been met with a blank stare.

Then birder53 posted about it, we started talking about it on eGullet and I started talking about it with my bartender friends at Pegu Club, several of whom were either members or read the eG cocktails forum. Right around the same time, Brian Miller (then at Pegu) returned from spending some time with the Zig Zag guys, and this provided an additional vector of interest in the cocktails they had featured in Seattle.

Before too long, the Last Word spread among internet cocktailians from the eG Forums, and among NYC cocktailian bartenders and their clients from Pegu Club. With a year or so, everyone knew about it.

Riffs such as Phil Ward's "Final Ward" made it onto the featured list at Pegu Club.

Roughly three years after this thread started, the Last Word was considered by many to be an "established classic" -- so much so that cocktailians might assume most any cocktail bar worth its salt would know the drink as of 2007.


It's a long way from virtually unknown to classic to basis formula for modern classic-style cocktails in three or four years.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#25 Chris Amirault

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:01 PM

That's fascinating -- and as the doofus who was busy judging other places based on that lapse, mea culpa.

But back to the drink at hand: is anyone else dripping a few drops of Pernod in there now and then?
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#26 KatieLoeb

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:03 PM

You're absolutely right, Sam! I hadn't thought of it that way. I surely would never have known about it were it not for the discussions here or visits to Pegu Club and other bars that had it or would make me one.

So what's the next drink to be plucked from obscurity to fame? I've often thought of making something other than a Harvey Wallbanger with Galliano, just to help every bar in America get rid of that tall dusty bottle on the back shelf... :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#27 slkinsey

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:45 PM

That's fascinating -- and as the doofus who was busy judging other places based on that lapse, mea culpa.

Meh. I think it's pretty interesting that the Last Word had grown so far in popularity in only a few years that it was not outlandish to suppose that a place billing itself as a cocktail bar would know the drink.

Something smiliar happened with the Aviation, which wasn't exactly a household word even among cocktailians as of ten years ago, and is now considered a firmly-entrenched classic.

But back to the drink at hand: is anyone else dripping a few drops of Pernod in there now and then?

Ironically, considering that it was my suggestion and I have a dasher bottle of absinthe for just such an application, I've never tried it. Does it add anything?
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#28 Chris Amirault

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 02:57 PM

Try it and let us know. I haven't quite decided if it's too busy or not, but it's worth a shot.

ETA: I just made one with some very old green Chartreuse and a dash of Pernod. The drink funkier than the usual LW, partly bc of that old Chartreuse but also bc the Maraschino and Pernod get a little squirrelly together. I really like it.

I think that the first post has it right: Aviation, then Trident, then a Last Word. If you're still able to taste anything, try one with Pernod.

Edited by chrisamirault, 11 August 2008 - 05:12 PM.

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#29 avant-garde

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 08:08 PM

One night I was out of Chartreuse but really wanted a Last Word. Instead, I used Strega in place of the Chartreuse and changed the lime juice to lemon. The result is what I like to call the...

Lemoncholy Cocktail

1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Strega
1 oz. Maraschino
1 oz. Lemon Juice
3 drops Fee Brothers Lemon
Lemon Twist

Shake, Strain, Drink

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#30 campus five

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 07:02 AM

A couple months ago, I was at an event sponsored by Plymouth, and they only had Chartreuse VEP. A Last Word with VEP - Now THAT was good.