The Last Christmas cocktail

For those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas!

I recently made a small batch of allspice dram, which is a spicy liqueur sometimes used in Tiki drinks. Although it was an interesting experiment, I’m not sure I’m enough of a cocktail fanatic to make it again. In the meantime, I have a cute little pint jar of the stuff to play with. (I made a half batch and cut the amount of water to match the amount of sugar.)

To be honest, I’m not much of a Tiki drink fan. Rum and I have a, um, complicated relationship and even though I appreciate it more now than in the past, I don’t think it’ll ever be the spirit I reach for first. So I searched for non-Tiki uses for allspice dram.

One that caught my eye was the Last Dance cocktail, which is a riff off the Last Word (one of my favorites). The Last Word is an equal parts cocktail, so it’s dead simple to make and scale up for multiple servings. I included brief notes on the taste of each ingredient so you can see how the pieces fit together).

Last Word

3/4 oz. gin (sharp) (A subtle gin gets lost in this cocktail, so use a London Dry gin here.)
3/4 oz. maraschino liqueur (funky, sweet, slightly bitter)
3/4 oz. green Chartreuse (intensely herbaceous and sweet)
3/4 oz. lime juice (sour)

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

On paper, the Last Word shouldn’t work. Individually, maraschino liqueur and green Chartreuse tend to overpower a cocktail, yet the Last Word includes generous pours of both. They somehow cancel each other out to form a complex base for the gin and lime.

The Last Dance I linked to swaps all of the components in the Last Word, but keeps its four-equal-parts structure. I switched the bourbon to rye because the sharp pepperiness of rye can punch through the strong flavors of the other ingredients. Since the most common description for allspice dram is “Christmas in a bottle” (because it smells like a mall Christmas display), I call my variation “Last Christmas”:

Last Christmas

3/4 oz. rye (sharp) (No mellow Canadian ryes here–you want something more assertive.)
3/4 oz. allspice dram (funky, sweet, slightly bitter)
3/4 oz. Benedictine (intensely herbaceous and sweet)
3/4 oz. lemon juice (sour)

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Last Christmas reminds me a bit of a whiskey sour, and if you squint at the recipe, you can sort of see one even though the proportions are out of whack. It does require a well-stocked bar to make, but if you happen to find yourself somewhere with all of the ingredients and decide to try this, let me know what you think.