Celebrate Spring in Northern Michigan with this classic cocktail. With a hint of cherry and a spring-green hue, this Last Call cocktail recipe is a sign of warmer days to come.

Last year for my April birthday, my husband took me to Detroit for a couple’s weekend. After dropping our bags in the room, we headed straight for the Foundation Hotel’s lobby bar for happy hour. Some 15 minutes into our arrival in the Motor City, I was reminded that our closest major metro is not only the birthplace of the automobile, the assembly line and countless blockbuster musicians—but also one of the most colorful cocktails of all time.

Right there at the top of my Motown menu that night: the Last Word. Said to have been first served more than a century ago at the still-prestigious Detroit Athletic Club, the classic cocktail is a curious mixture of gin, lime juice, maraschino liqueur and Green Chartreuse.

Chartreuse is an herbaceous, chlorophyll-colored liqueur made by French monks. I have long been a fan of just about any cocktail that features it, but the peppery, almost-minty digestif’s signature bright-green hue is an especially welcome pop of color in Northern Michigan on an April day. Grab a bottle of your favorite 45th parallel gin—we’re looking at you, Iron Fish and Ethanology—put on your parka and dust off that front porch rocker. It may not feel like spring just yet, but this colorful cocktail will at least look like greener days are coming.

Last Word cocktail

Photo by Dave Weidner

Last Word Cocktail Recipe
Serves 1

  • 3⁄4 ounce gin
  • 3⁄4 ounce Green Chartreuse
  • 3⁄4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3⁄4 ounce maraschino liqueur such as Luxardo
  • Michigan cocktail cherry, for garnish

Add ice to a coupe glass to chill it. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the gin, Chartreuse, lime juice and mara- schino liqueur. Shake vigorously until the mixture is cold. Discard the ice in the coupe, strain contents of the shaker into the glass and garnish with a cherry.

Last Word cocktail

Photo by Dave Weidner

Stacey Brugeman is a Leelanau County-based food and beverage writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, Eater and Denver’s 5280, where she served as Restaurant Critic. Follow her on Instagram @staceybrugeman.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner