Sorbet is a refreshing dessert option any time of day and is always a good way to end any meal. You could argue that any dessert is a good way to end a meal, of course, but fruity sorbets feel lighter and therefore are easier to make room for than other desserts – no matter how large a mean you just indulged in. This Last Word Sorbet is inspired by one of my favorite cocktails, the Last Word.
The cocktail is a combination of equal parts gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice. It is said to have originated at the Detroit Athletic Club in the early 1920s, but it found true popularity during the cocktail renaissance of the last few years, where it found a place on the menu at many craft cocktail bars. Green chartreuse is an herbal liqueur that I’ve worked with before. Complex and intensely flavored, it can be an acquired taste at first, but it is worth acquiring that taste because it is both unique and absolutely delicious.
The sorbet has a base of sugar, lime juice and water – the same combination that I would use for a “plain” lime sorbet. To it, I added green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and London dry gin. The chartreuse and the maraschino liqueurs are both very strongly flavored, so you don’t need a lot of them to infuse the sorbet with the flavor of the cocktail. It’s refreshing, herbacious and has just a hint of alcohol to it – though the amount of alcohol is far less than you would find in a cocktail, so you won’t catch a buzz even if you go back for seconds.
I recommend using an ice cream maker to get the best results from this sorbet. It should be brightly flavored with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can turn the sorbet base into a granita by pouring it into a 9×13-inch baking dish and putting it in the freezer. Stir the mixture with a fork every 30 minutes to break up the ice crystals as the form, turning the slushy base into an icy – and still delicious – granita that can be served just like the sorbet.
Last Word Sorbet
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
1/2 cup water
1 oz green chartreuse
1 oz maraschino liqueur (not cherry juice)
1 oz London dry gin
In a large bowl, stir together sugar and lime juice. The acidity of the lime juice will dissolve the sugar within a few minutes. Add in water, chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and gin. Stir to combine, then refrigerate until cold.
Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers’ directions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, at least 2-3 hours.