I can't believe it is March, and the temperature outside is 84 degrees. This isn't just some freak early spring day in Boston. This whole winter has been a dream, and this has been the fifth day in a row with balmy temperatures. This is incredible.
In fact, today is a good day to mix up a Final Ward cocktail, a tipple discovered during a recent visit to The Hawthorne lounge in Boston's now-completely-castrated-and-soulless Kenmore Square (remember The Rat?). Devised by Philip Ward, of New York's Death & Company, the Final Ward is a bespoke version of the classic Last Word (equal parts gin, lime, green Chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur), a cocktail allegedly developed at the Detroit Athletic Club during the Prohibition.
Upon sipping one this afternoon, my wife described the Final Ward as "the perfect springtime 'up' drink, bridging the gap between the Manhattan and the whiskey sour." I agree, and would also throw in the daiquiri as a comparison point, for good measure. Lemon makes it deliciously crisp and refreshing, while Green Chartreuse introduces a distinct herbal quality, and the maraschino liqueur (I use Luxardo, which is superb, but you can find others) provides a woody and floral note. Replacing the botanical gin, rye adds a dry and fruity element, with that distinct flavor of the grain working well with the other ingredients. It has been suggested, and for the record I agree, that the rye should be 100 proof minimum for best results (though I think it is fine with Old Overholt, which is not hard to find, and easy on the wallet to boot). On a side note, I recently bought a bottle of High West Double Rye!, and it is fantastic. Talk about rye! And it comes from Utah, of all places.
I should warn that Chartreuse is not cheap, but a bottle should last you a good long while (sort of like buying absinthe). It's truly worth the investment for this drink.
The Final Ward
3/4 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz maraschino liqueur
Shake all the ingredients with ice, until the shaker is frosty and your fingers smart from the cold. Ok, just shake it until it is cold. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy spring!