Like a champion show dog, an exceptional cocktail comes from a high-quality pedigree: The Final Ward is one such cocktail. During a celebratory wrap dinner at Hollywood’s Eveleigh, I started talking shop with barkeep, Garrett Mikell and he suggested I try The Final Ward. But to fully appreciate The Final Ward, you have to look at its cocktail family tree.
The patriarch of this cocktail clan is The Last Word, a prohibition-era cocktail that’s equal parts gin, lime juice, Green Chartreuse, and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. I know, that combo of flavors doesn’t sound all that tasty, does it? I couldn’t imagine it until I first had it, a light gin cocktail almost reminiscent of a classic Daiquiri.
With the resurgence of the cocktail culture, The Last Word has come back into fashion, and, with it, a slew of creative cocktail offspring. A few particularly noteworthy variations are The Dernier Mot, made with rum and The Asterisk, with brandy and lemon juice. The Final Ward comes to us from the creative mind of bartender Phil Ward of the renowned New York bar, Death & Company who made his variation with rye whiskey and lemon juice. I’ve had my share of rye-based cocktails but this one has a refreshing brightness that’s a welcome change from the more pronounced classic rye cocktails. In short, the sum of this cocktail is, pleasantly, much more than its parts — shake it up for yourself to see what I mean.
The Final Ward Cocktail Recipe
Makes: 1 cocktail
1 ounce rye whiskey (I used Old Overholt)
1 ounce Green Chartreuse
1 ounce maraschino liqueur (I prefer Luxardo brand)
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Combine everything in a cocktail shaker and fill halfway with ice.
Close and shake until well chilled and shaker is frosted, about 10 to 20 shakes.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.