Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Last Resort

A curved Martini glass rests on a high-rimmed round bar tray. The drink within the glass is golden yellow with a layer of white foam dappled with nutmeg and bitters. The background is mottled gray. / Tim Nusog 

The Brandy Sour is a historic, classic concoction, an intoxicating mix of the fruit-based spirit with citrus, sweetener and, often, egg white. Its most famous interpretation is likely the Sidecar, made with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, but many variations have spun out from the original model—the Last Resort is one such variation. The drink comes from the celebrated bartender Dushan Zarić—co-founder of New York City’s Employees Only—and it sees a few key changes to the Brandy Sour blueprint, including switching the base spirit for pear brandy and adding an absinthe rinse.

For the base of the drink, Zarić uses a pear eau-de-vie, also know as Poire Williams for the pear that it is made from. Colorless but deeply aromatic and fruity, the fruit brandy evokes ripe, fresh pears. In particular, Zarić uses Massenez Poire Williams, a lauded and elegant spirit from France. While it is an exceptional spirit, it has its competitors. In the United States, Oregon’s Clear Creek pear brandy is highly regarded and made with Bartlett pears, as the Williams pear is known in the U.S. To the south, St. George Spirits in California makes another beautiful pear eau-de-vie. Eastern Europe, too, produces a number of pear eaux-de-vie, though those can be difficult to source outside of their home countries.

This bright and vivid drink sees the pear brandy shaken with lemon and rich simple syrup that accentuate the floral and fruity notes of the pear brandy, as well as egg white for a frothy, silky mouthfeel. It also gets a rinse of absinthe, which lends botanicals and herbaceous aromatics. It’s finished with a dusting of nutmeg, which complements the pear, as well as a few drops of Peychaud’s bitters that rest upon the pillowy foam. In addition to giving the drink some pleasant visuals, the few drops of bitters enhance the aromatics and botanicals of the absinthe.


  • 1/4 ounce absinthe
  • 2 ounces Massenez Poire Williams
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 ounce rich simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Garnish: fresh grated nutmeg
  • Garnish: 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters


  1. Add the absinthe to a chilled coupe glass and swirl to coat the inside, discarding any excess, and set aside.

  2. Add the pear brandy, lime juice, simple syrup and egg white into a shaker and vigorously dry-shake (with no ice) to emulsify the egg whites.

  3. Fill shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  4. Double-strain into the prepared glass.

  5. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters.