I am a big fan of herbal cocktails and sours, so it’s not a big surprise that I enjoy the Last Word (equal parts gin, Chartreuse, Maraschino, and lime juice). Happily, its simple formula is quite amenable to variations. My favorite of these is the Ultima Palabra, which swaps out the gin for a smoky mezcal.
0.75 oz mezcal (Vida) 0.75 oz Green Chartreuse 0.75 oz Maraschino 0.75 oz lime juice Shake and strain
This drink really covers a lot of bases. It starts off sour, moves through sweet, and ends with bitter that lingers. It’s satisfying enough to drink slowly, but the sour pucker makes me want to keep drinking—am impressive feat given its potency. It’s not the sort of cocktail that I’d normally refer to as “balanced” (it’s certainly not smooth), but the assertive parts all play off one another so well that a balance is achieved.