Dernier Mot – a Last Word Variation

Your cocktail calendar entry for: May
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The Dernier Mot is another variation on the Last Word cocktail substituting just one ingredient in the original recipe.  Here gin is replaced with Rhum Agricole.  It follows the Mr. Potato Head school of bartending, creating a new drink out of a classic blueprint.

The term Rhum Agricole is basically French for ‘sugarcane juice rum.’  It’s a style of rum that originated in the French Caribbean islands when they made rum using freshly squeezed surgarcane juice as opposed to molasses.  Most rum is made from molasses, an industrial byproduct of sugar refining.  We discussed this a bit in the context of the Kingston Negroni, which uses Jamaican rum.

Sugar was the first valuable product of the French Caribbean islands.  But around 1811 when France started to make sugar from sugar beets the price of sugar dropped.  The sugar factories were saddled with debt and could not survive just banging out sugar.  That created a surplus of cane juice and it became available for fermenting and distilling.

AOC Martinique Rhum Agricole

Producers of cane-juice rums made in Martinique and meeting some other production standards are entitled by law to the appellation d’origine controlee of AOC Martinique Rhum Agricole.   This does not entirely define the scope of cane-juice rum or Rhum Agricole but it is considered the finest of the category.  Production involves distilling to about 70% alcohol and then diluting to a final concentration of 40-55% (80-110 proof).  Aging is from a minimum of 3 months, and if aged at least 3 years it may be called “rhum vieux.” That basically means old rum.

We recommend an AOC Martinique Rhum Agricole for the Dernier Mot, but not one labeled Rhum Vieux.  Cane-juice rums out of Brazil (known as Cachaca) are quite different and best used for the Caipirinha.  Barbancourt makes cane-juice rums in Haiti, but tends to age them a minimum of four years.  That creates a notably different flavor profile.


Dernier Mot cocktail

Dernier Mot

Another variation on the Last Word, the Dernier Mot makes a single substitution. Instead of gin, this cocktail employs Rhum Agricole, the rum (or rhum if you're speaking French) from Martinique. It's worth having a bottle in your liquor collection.
5 from 1 vote


  • Nick and Nora or coupe glass


  • ¾ oz Rhum Agricole Go ahead, buy that bottle of Clement rum you've been eyeing at your local liquor store.
  • ¾ oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ oz Green Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz Fresh lime juice


  • Add all ingredients to your trusty cocktail shaker
  • Add ice and shake until frosty cold
  • Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  • Drink
  • Rinse and repeat
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