About a block and a half away from where we like to stay in Manhattan sits the Boqueria West 40th Street, easily one of the best places to get a bite to eat and a good drink in Times Square proper. More often than not I’m successful in convincing Michael to get a little more food here before we turn in for the night, especially if we’ve been doing small plates for dinner, and I always leave satisfied and ready to chill out in our hotel room.
On our most recent trip we had some pan con tomate and croquetas along with a couple of magnificent cocktails, including the one you see here, named the Last Train to Priorat. A variation of the Prohibition-era cocktail classic The Last Word*, it combines gin, Aperol, maraschino liquor, and lime juice and it gets garnished with a sprig of thyme. I adore The Last Word cocktail; we enjoyed the hell out of them a year ago when we were in Chicago and sipping on them in our hotel’s lobby bar, but it was trying this variation that pushed me to finally buy a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur for our collection.
This drink is very, very easy-drinking–a little too easy to quaff, to be honest–and it’s so simple to make. You get a little bit of everything: herbal notes from the gin, sweet and bitter from the Aperol, that intense cherry flavor from the Luxardo, and that acid bite from the lime juice. While the original Last Word gets its color from the chartreuse that’s part of the original recipe, I like the use of Aperol here and I kind of want to try Campari the next time I make it just to see what the results would taste like.
I’m hoping to make a batch of this to bring to a family gathering because I know everyone else will adore it, and I can even garnish it with my own homegrown thyme because so far, it seems to be growing fairly well at this point.
I intend on making this a lot for the rest of the summer, and fall, and basically year-round because it’s fairly seasonally-agnostic, but it’s also pushing me to go back to Boqueria to see what cool cocktail concotions they’ve dreamed up this time around too.
The Last Train to Priorat
Adapted from Boqueria West 40th Street
Makes one cocktail
- 1.5 oz gin
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
- 1 oz freshly-squeeze lime juice
- Thyme sprig, for garnish
Special equipment: cocktail shaker, Nick and Nora glass
FIll a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, and add the gin, Aperol, Luxardo, and lime juice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, and then strain into a Nick and Nora cocktail glass, garnishing with the thyme sprig. Serve immediately.
*Hat tip to local wine and cocktail expert @emalstein on IG for pointing this out to me, and in retrospect it makes sense because all Last Word variations seem to take on the nomenclature theme of The Last [blank].