4 cocktails you need to make this spring

When faced with lots of time stuck indoors, my thoughts go immediately to making sure that I am well stocked with all the ingredients for my favorite cocktails. So this extended WFH and LFH (Live from Home) certainly has given me the opportunity to test my mettle.

I have to admit, my bar at home is pretty well stocked, so there wasn’t THAT much extra preparation that I had to do. But I definitely had to make sure that I had ENOUGH of the right ingredients to make my favorites for an extended time.

Here’s a few of those favorites, along with a few new ones that I have been able to experiment with over these last few weeks at home.

My all time favorite and always a crowd pleaser (haven’t had to worry about the crowds recently though!) is The Last Word.  It is the most balanced cocktail that I know - not too spirit forward, not too sweet, not too citrusy - just downright perfect!  Here’s a little brief history on The Last Word.

The Last Word is a Prohibition-era cocktail that got its beginnings in the Detroit Athletic Club’s bar in the early 1920s. The drink was served at the bar throughout this period and was spread further afield by vaudeville performer Frank Fogarty – also known as the ‘Dublin Minstrel.’

The cocktail survived for a few decades in America’s bars and pubs and was even featured in Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up in 1951, but the following it had attained was not enough to see it through to the latter half of the century and it soon faded into obscurity.

It was only recently, in fact, in 2005, that the citrusy cocktail was pushed back into the limelight (ahem… pun intended). Murray Stenson, working at the Zig Zag Café in Seattle, was reading Saucier’s book in a bid to find that special something when he happened upon The Last Word. He added it to the menu and it became an immediate success, spreading to New York City, where the Pegu Club brought it to wider acclaim. Such an episode makes us wonder how many more instant classic cocktails are tucked away in dusty old books, waiting to be pushed back into centre stage…

Green Charteuse is an ingredient worthy of note too – it’s a French liqueur made by Carthusian Monks and allegedly, is flavoured with 130 different herbs, giving it a strong medicinal edge. 

How to make a Last Word

¾ ounce Gin

¾ ounce lime juice

¾ ounce green Chartreuse

¾ ounce Maraschino liqueur

Shake with ice and double strain into a coupe and garnish with Luxardo Maraschino Cherry

One of my go to cocktails, with pretty simple ingredients is The Negroni. Here’s a brief, inebriated history:

The most widely reported version of this drink’s origin is that it was invented at Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy in 1919. Legend tells that Count Camillo Negroni asked his friend, bartender Forsco Scarselli, to strengthen his favorite cocktail – the Americano – by replacing the soda water with gin. Scarselli added an orange garnish, rather than the lemon you’d usually get with an Americano, and the drink took off. Before long, everyone was coming into the bar for a ‘Negroni.’

Camillo Negroni himself was an interesting figure. He travelled around America while in his twenties and lived the life of a cowboy for a period. He also lived in London, which, we like to think with its prevalent gin scene, led to him (perhaps inadvertently) creating one of the most iconic cocktails of all time.

The Negroni family was quick to take advantage of the cocktail’s success too, founding the Negroni Distillery in 1919, in Treviso, Italy, where they produced a ready-made version of the drink, sold as Antico Negroni. The distillery is still open today, the under the ownership of a new family.

How to make a Negroni:

1 ounce Gin

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

1 ounce Campari

1 fresh orange peel

Pour gin, vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with ice (or straight up in a coupe) and garnish with an orange peel

Very similar to The Negroni is another favorite of mine - The Boulevardier.  The Boulevardier is the bourbon lover’s answer to The Negroni. Just swap out some good bourbon (or rye) for the gin - and enjoy!

How to make a Boulevardier

1 ounce Bourbon (or Rye)

1 ounce Sweet Vermouth

1 ounce Campari

1 fresh orange peel

Finally, to a much more obscure and yes intense cocktail called the Tobacco Road.  If you enjoy Mezcal, you will like this one. It is smoky (hence the name) and yet smooth. I had this drink at an amazing restaurant in Philadelphia called Zahav (it was off menu) and have only ever had it after that at my home bar.

How to make a Tobacco Road

1.5 ounces Mezcal

1.25 ounces Cynar

.5 ounces Fino Sherry

2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Put all the ingredients in a rocks glass, add one big ice cube, put a pinch of salt on the ice cube, add a twist of grapefruit and stir in the glass for 10 seconds

The smokiness from the mezcal marries the bitterness from the Cynar and creates a very refreshing and unique drink to enjoy.

I hope you enjoy making (and drinking) these cocktails as much as I do!

Cheers!
Peter

2 comments


  • Felice

    I can vouch for the Last Word. We’ve made it as a batch drink at several parties and it is definitely a crowd pleaser with what seems to be universal appeal!


  • Luisa C.

    Another easy one is The Gimlet; Gin or Vodka with Rose’s Lime juice to taste. Enjoy!


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