Variations on a Theme


3/4 oz White Rum [Smoky Quartz Distillery]
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Licor 43
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lime twist.

If you’ve been following me out in the Drinkstasphere, you’ll know there is a global event going on called “We Have the Last Word”.  Conceived by my instagram pal @mmydrinks (aka Mike), it’s an opportunity for all the cocktail minded instagrammers out there to offer up some variations on the classic Last Word Cocktail.  He even created @wehavethelastword instagram account to track and share everyone’s takes.  After contributing two via social media #wehavethelastword, it seems only natural for my first post this month to continue the theme.

When Mike announced this event, I flipped through the pages of my cocktail journal to see if anything fit the bill.  I was pleased to find I actually had quite a few qualifying (in my mind) variations.  This isn’t altogether surprising, as the Last Word template can be distilled down to base spirit, herbal liqueur, sweet liqueur, citrus.

One that jumped out at me was called the Flying V.  I kept the “green” elements while altering the base spirit and sweet liqueur.  White rum steps in for gin, and fruity, funky maraschino liqueur is replaced with the sweeter, citrus, and floral notes of Licor 43.

I picked up this bottle because my only other experience with vanilla liqueurs was Galliano.  While that stuff is good, the anise notes were a bit overpowering.  Licor 43 brings a citrus element in to buffer the vanilla sweetness, brightening everything up and really letting the vanilla shine.  Plus, there is a strong vanilla blossom thing going on both in aroma and taste.  I also thought a subtle rum-ness of it would pair well with an actual white rum.


A lot to take in on the nose of the Coda.  If you work at it, you can pick out each component, or just relax and bask in the floweriness of it all.  One of the things of love about vanilla is it has such a botanical side to it.  Here, it’s definitely teaming up with the Chartreuse to create a nice bouquet, while also complimenting the molasses in the rum.  This continues on the sip, as the flowers and herbs from the two liqueurs continue to dominate.  Rum grounds everything with some sweetness, and its alcohol joins forces with the lime juice to sharpen the edges.  The swallow is rummy, as the Licor 43 shows that side of its personality, then finishing with one last floral blast.  I was a little surprised this version had such a fragrant profile, I thought losing the gin for rum and using Licor 43 would really sweeten things up.  Happily this is not the case, and things are nicely balanced and tilting towards an unexpected side of the flavor spectrum.

Since this is a variation on a different original I called the Flying V, I wanted to keep the music theme for the name of the updated version.  Putting that through the lens of the #wehavethelastword campaign, I ended up with the Coda – the musical equivalent to the Last Word.

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