Drinks

Last Word

Last Word.

The Last Word is an extraordinary drink. It combines ingredients that one would not expect to harmonise with each other: gin, maraschino, chartreuse and lime juice. But they complement each other perfectly.

20 ml Hayman‘s Royal Dock Gin
20 ml Schladerer Maraschino
20 ml Chartreuse Verte
20 ml lime juice

Preparation: Shaken.

The recipe for the Last Word first appears in Ted Saucier’s book “Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up” in 1951. He claims that the drink came from the Detroit Athletic Club. He writes: „Courtesy, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit “This cocktail was introduced around here about thirty years ago by Frank Fogarty, who was very well known in vaudeville. He was called the ‘Dublin Minstrel,’ and was a very fine monologue artist.”

Frank Fogarty was a well-known vaudeville artist who was also called the “Dublin Minstrel”, which translates as “balladeer from Dublin”

By “around here” one must probably understand New York City. Ted Saucier worked for a long time as press officer for the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, so “around here” can only mean New York City. [3] [6]

Vaudeville refers to a genre of US entertainment theatre that was most popular around 1900 and consisted of a fast-paced assortment of mixed acts. [4] According to a 1912 newspaper article in The New York Morning Telegraph, Frank Fogarty was the most popular vaudeville performer. [5] [9] [11]

Detroit Athletic Club, about 1915.
Detroit Athletic Club, about 1915. [7]

The Detroit Athletic Club was founded in 1887 to promote amateur sports and a clubhouse was built on Woodward Avenue. Henry Joy later felt that the wealthy tycoons of the automobile industry spent too much time in pubs on Woodward Avenue and that a club befitting them was needed. So in 1913 the club was reorganised. [8] [9] The new clubhouse of the Detroit Athletic Club was opened in 1915 on Madison Avenue. [3] [8] [9]

Detroit Athletic Club, menu card with the Last Word, 1916.
Detroit Athletic Club, menu card with the Last Word, 1916. [1]

Ted Saucier’s statement is not the only reason to assume that the Last Word originated in the Detroit Athletic Club. Its first mention can be found on a menu card of the club from 1916. This menu was sent to all club members with the July/August issue of the club magazine. [1] [3] It is the most expensive “cocktail” on the menu at 35 cents. Unfortunately, it is not stated what ingredients it is made of or who invented it. But we may assume that it is “our” Last Word, anything else would be too improbable. Further research by the club has revealed no other mentions of the drink. [1] [3]

Frank Fogarty is known to have visited the Detroit Athletic Club. His only known visit to the Club took place two months after the Last Word was offered at the Club, in December 1916. This is reported in the January issue of the Club’s magazine. The Club’s founding member, Emory W. Clark, had invited Frank Fogarty to entertain the directors of the First and Old National Bank and keep them from talking business with his lively stories.” [1] [3] Although this was Frank Fogarty’s only known visit to the Detroit Athletic Club, he had already appeared in Detroit in 1914 and 1915, at events organised by the “Detroit Board of Commerce”. [3] There is no indication that Frank Fogarty was ever a member of the club, its employee or bartender. He must have met the Last Word while visiting the club and subsequently introduced it to New York. He mainly worked and lived there. He did not invent the Last Word. [1] [3]

The Last Word was never really known and was therefore quickly forgotten. It was rediscovered in 2004 by Murray Stenson. He found it in Ted Saucier’s book and put it on the menu of the Zig Zag Cafés in Seattle. [1] [2] [3] [5] [6] [9] [10] This would have been done not only because it was a good drink. Joaquin Simó, former bartender at Death & Co in New York and now co-owner of Pouring Ribbons, reports: „A decade ago, it was still a sign of a good bar if you had maraschino, if you had fresh citrus, if you had Chartreuse, if you had good gin. And if you could mix these ingredients in equal parts, that meant precision, which meant you were jiggering. [1]

The Last Word only became known again at the Detroit Athletic Club in 2009, when a Seattle newspaper contacted the club to find out more about the drink. Since then, the Last Word has been available at the club again, and they even named a lounge on the roof of the club after it. [3]

In the years following its rediscovery, the Last Word inspired numerous bartenders to develop their own variations of this drink. [1] [2] [10] For example, Phil Ward’s “Final Ward” and “Pete’s Word” or Hendrik Albrecht’s “Quemada Palabra“. We have also developed one, with mezcal and crème de cacao. We call it “Oaxaca’s Word” and report on it next week.

Sources
  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-born-in-detroit-cocktail-that-has-spawned-countless-variations/2016/04/24/3f6922c8-0665-11e6-b283-e79d81c63c1b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5316ad6b215c: The born-in-Detroit cocktail that has spawned countless variations. By M. Carrie Allan, 24. April 2016.
  2. https://birthmoviesdeath.com/2012/06/29/your-guide-to-drinking-this-weekend-the-last-word: Your Guide To Drinking This Weekend: The Last Word. By Bill Norris, 29. June 2012.
  3. https://www.metrotimes.com/table-and-bar/archives/2015/10/07/truly-the-last-word-on-the-last-word-the-cocktail-sensation-that-originated-at-the-detroit-athletic-club: Truly the last word on the Last Word — the cocktail sensation that originated at the Detroit Athletic Club. By Ken Voyles and Joe Cabadas, 7. October 2015.
  4. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaudeville: Vaudeville.
  5. http://www.gazregan.com/last-word/: Last Word. By Gaz Regan, 6. May 2012.
  6. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Word_(Cocktail): Last Word.
  7. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:DetroitAthleticClub_1915.jpg: Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit, Mich., zwischen 1910 und 1920.
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit_Athletic_Club: Detroit Athletic Club.
  9. https://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/961/cocktails/last-word-cocktail: Last Word cocktail. By Simon Difford.
  10. https://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-drink/the-last-word-a-cocktail-reborn-in-seattle-is-on-everyones-lips/: The Last Word, a cocktail reborn in Seattle, is on everyone’s lips. By Tan Vinh, 11. March 2009, updated am 8. April 2016.
  11. Gary Regan: The Joy of Mixology. Revised and updated edition. ISBN 978-0-451-49902-8. Mew York, Penguin Random House LLC, 2018. Page 232.
Last Word.
Last Word.

Historical recipes

1951 Ted Saucier: Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up. Seite 151. Last Word.

Courtesy, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit
“This cocktail was introduced around here about thirty years ago by
Frank Fogarty, who was very well known in vaudeville. He was
called the ‘Dublin Minstrel,’ and was a very fine monologue artist.”
1/4 dry gin
1/4 maraschino
1/4 chartreuse
1/4 lime juice
Ice
Serve in cocktail glass.

2017 Gary Regan: The Joy of Mixology. Seite 232. Last Word. 3/4 ounce dry gin; 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur; 3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse; 3/4 ounce lime juice.

2017 Jim Meehan: Meehan’s Bartender Manual. Seite 227. Last Word. 0,75 oz. Perry’s Tot “navy-strength” gin; 0,75 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur; 0,75 oz. green Chartreuse; 0,75 oz. lime juice.

2018 Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, David Kaplan: Cocktail Codex. Seite 179. Last Word. 3/4 ounce London dry gin; 3/4 ounce green Chartreuse; 3/4 ounce Luxardo Maraschino; 3/4 ounce lime juice.

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About

Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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