If you’ve ever had a classic Last Word, you know the kind of nuanced flavor profile that comes with combining green Chartreuse with citrus, a spirit and another distinct liqueur (lime, gin and Maraschino, respectively). It’s a drink unlike any other, and thanks to its unique nature, the Last Word has inspired countless riffs over the years. Take the Monte Cassino, for example: Created in 2010 by New York City bartender Damon Dyer, this variation uses yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine, American rye whiskey and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and it’s every bit as satisfying as its inspiration.
Dyer’s Monte Cassino draws its name from Benedictine’s rich and fascinating history, which, like Chartreuse, is connected to centuries of production by monks (Monte Cassino in Italy is where the Benedictine Order is said to have been founded). Because the Benedictine takes the place of the usual maraschino cherry liqueur in a Last Word, the Monte Cassino is even more botanical-forward and herbal than its inspiration. To balance that, the gin is also swapped out, with American rye whiskey taking its place. The whiskey adds a warmth and gentle spice to the cocktail, making it more lush and rich than the original.
Also like a Last Word, the Monte Cassino looks odd on paper, as equal parts of whiskey, yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine and lemon juice is an intimidating mix. But the marriage of these four ingredients creates a result greater than the individual parts, with lemon juice helping to brighten and enliven the darker, richer spirits as well as balance their sweetness. The cocktail is also a stunner to look at, all bright-gold and refreshing looking. It may not replace the Last Word as your go-to aperitif, but it’s possible. Any fan of that family of drinks should try the Monte Cassino at least once.
- 3/4 ounce American rye whiskey
- 3/4 ounce Benedictine
- 3/4 ounce Yellow Chartreuse
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Garnish: lemon twist
Add the rye, Benedictine, yellow Chartreuse and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.