Are Drinks Seasonal?

Last Word

A recent comment on my shrub post prompted me to post this question. To clarify if you haven’t seen the post, I’ll quote Martin, the owner and fine exotic cocktail scientist from Forbidden Island: “What’s all this #&%$* about tiki season fading? What are you, some kind of @#*&! communist?” I found this remark to be mostly acceptable and correct, yet, when the leaves begin to turn and the air crisps, whiskey and gin begin to call. Not to mention the herbal emerald known as Chartreuse.

Though I enjoy the drinks listed below in all seasons, they are more often consumed depending on the season. According to the Kaiser Penguin archive, however, there are few months of the year that exotic cocktails aren’t discussed and enjoyed.


  • Old Fashioned
  • Mulled-cider
  • Wine
  • sipping rum


  • The Last Word (see below)
  • Manhattan, Rob Roy, Rusty Nail, etc.
  • Sipping scotch, Chartreuse


  • Martini
  • tiki drinks, yearning for summer
  • more experimentation than normal
  • Negroni


  • Exotic cocktails almost exclusively
  • Mojito
  • Mint Julep

I’m sure many of you have already scrolled to the comment section to flame or, if I’m lucky, nod in agreement. Nevertheless, I’m interested in hearing about what drinks you think are seasonal. Before that, I’ll leave you with The Last Word and a twist.

The Last Word

  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1oz maraschino liqueur (used Luxardo)
  • 1oz green Chartreuse
  • 1oz gin (used Tanqueray 10)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Frank Fogarty via Bottums Up, Ted Saucier

I was originally introduced to this fine drink by Paul Clarke over at Cocktail Chronicles. My impression of the drink hasn’t changed much since my original comment on his post: “I really can’t say enough good about the Last Word; the intricate array of flavors is nearly overwhelming balanced.”

Always wanting to experiment with the elderberry-filled joy called St. Germain, I decided to make a variation on the Last Word. My original name for this drink is a bit … boring. Perhaps you can help me with that.

The Next to Last Word

  • 1oz lemon juice
  • 1oz maraschino liqueur (used Luxardo)
  • 1oz St. Germain
  • 1oz gin (used Tanqueray 10)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Kaiser Penguin

The St. Germain and maraschino liqueur play so well together, letting each have a turn in an ongoing game of hide-and-go-seek in your mouth. This one’s a touch sweeter without the 110 proof of the Chartreuse to dance about, but it’s definitely not cloying. I particularly enjoy the aroma, which combines the floral notes of the St. Germain and the mustiness of the maraschino. In fact, the aroma of St. Germain is one of its best qualities; I have yet to ask one person to smell it without their eyes lighting up with surprise.

KP Questions

  1. What are your seasonal drinks?
  2. Test out The Next to Last Word, and let me know what you think. And please suggest a better name!
  3. Do you find yourself sipping spirits straight based on the season? (this question is not for Scott)

20 Responses to “Are Drinks Seasonal?”

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

20 Comments to “ Are Drinks Seasonal?”
  1. I totally agree that some drinks are to be enjoyed seasonally. Hot Toddies, Hot Cider, Hot Buttered Rum, Tom & Jerrys, pretty much anything hot is not something you look forward to at the end of the day in July. If I gathered everyone around the pool with a punch bowl full of something yummy and hot you would probably find me at the bottom of the pool a few minutes later.

  2. Modern technology has made moot the notion of drinking Tiki drinks “in season.” For example, is it freezing cold outside? Turn up your central heating until you’re unseasonably hot … and blend yourself a nice cooling tropical beverage!

  3. anonymousNo Gravatar says:

    You gotta get a Last Word from Murray Stenson at Zig Zag in Seattle. He was the person who brought it back out of obscurity, and it’s fantastic.

  4. Tropical Cocktails throughout the year! A Navy Grog, Zombie, or Cobra’s Fang are great 365 days a year. But I may be biased. Really, other than Egg Nog and Tom and Jerrys, there aren’t many drinks I shy away from throughout the year.

    The name of the drink? I suggest Zyxst. It’s the next to last word in the dictionary… well, and I say this with some sad regard, according the the internet. Yes, I am without printed dictionary.

    Straight spirits, definitely throughout the year. Brandy tends to be more prevalent in colder months, but not entirely without due throughout the year.

  5. Jay HepburnNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely drink some cocktails more at certain times of the year than others. Old Fashioneds and the like are generally drinks for the colder months, and Caipirinhas for the warmer ones. And then of course there’s stuff with fresh fruit which I can only get hold of (reasonably priced anyway) at certain times of the year. That said, it’s not a hard and fast rule. I’ve been known to sip Daiquiris in the winter, and for me the Martini is good all year around.

    I do love the Last Word. The way the maraschino and Chartreuse work together really sums up what a cocktail is all about for me – creating something better than the sum of the parts. The “Next to Last Word” also sounds interesting, I’ll have to give it a try soon.

  6. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    This is a toughie for me. Since I’m constantly running across new spirits & mixers (thanks to all of you), I find my lust for discovery & experimentation defies any calendar considerations.

    However, here’s a few things off the top of my head…

    ~ I drink gin year-round. It’s my favorite spirit, so I’ll enjoy a Martini in front of the fireplace in January with the same gusto I’ll have a gin & tonic on my sunny back porch in July.

    ~ I enjoy Tiki-style drinks year-round too, but they *do* seem to feel a little more welcome in the warmer months.

    ~ Since I’ve only just recently started drinking rums & whiskeys straight, I can’t yet claim I like them better in certain seasons. But I’m thinking I’ll probably be up for it all year long ;-)

  7. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    Here’s what I say:


  8. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    In all seriousness Comrade Rick,

    Of course there are seasonal drinks, but many winter/baking spices turn up in tropical drinks, so you can always enjoy nutmeg in your painkiller anytime.

    Since the whole point of a good tiki bar is escape, the weather is just another thing to escape from- out of the rain and snow and into the warm glow of dusk at Waikiki. The Kahiki in Columbus was no doubt extra popular when the moais outside were covered in snow.

    And yes, we do offer a hot specialty drink menu from December – February. I’m going to do something insane and possible life threatening this year.

  9. BoozemonkeyNo Gravatar says:

    Hooray for the Last Word! I first had this a few months ago after stumbling over while just sort of looking about on the web looking for Chartreuse drinks. I concur that one can’t say enough good things about it.

    Going into winter I tend to do a lot more of whiskeys straight, and whiskey cocktails. I’ll also pretty much drink my weight in mulled wine. Shortly after having my Last Word my friend and I made the same variation as you though we used different proportions. I’m definitely going to try your recipe out though.

  10. MickNo Gravatar says:

    I think there are some seasonal drinks, and while I would reserve the right to drink anything any damned time I please, some things start to sound… more delicous… as the seaons change: among these (as we move into the continental US colder seasons), I would include: the Manhattan and homemade Eggnog. I recently posted my fave recipe here: http://www.minglefreely.com


  11. RowenNo Gravatar says:

    I just made the Last Word. Man, is that good! Similarity to the Green Ghost in content and color, but totally surpasses that other cocktail for balance, structure and stature. My housemate really liked it too.

    And yes, I feel a certain seasonality when it comes to drinks. A nice glass of old amber something or other in cooler weather is warming and cheerful. Margaritas definitely seem more seductive during a hot spell, as do blended tikis. I don’t know that the actual base makes a difference to me as much as the form in which the spirits are prepared.

  12. BrennanNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t care much about time of year. Where I’m at is a much bigger factor. If I’m at the usual bar that can’t make anything with more than 2 ingredients right, Hennessey and Coke. If I’m at a good Italian Restaurant, probably something with Amaretto, Tuaca, Limoncello, etc. If I’m at home, probably something with rum and fruit, cider or sangria.

  13. ScottesNo Gravatar says:

    I most certainly sip rum year round, and will take a Mai Tai any time it’s offered, easily available, or if I feel like making one.

    But a Hot Buttered Rum in July? No.
    A Caipirinha in December? It won’t be my first choice, just because it seems wrong…

    Personally, I think of rums seasonally.
    Whites in Spring.
    Agricole in Summer.
    Sweet aged in Fall.
    Dark and thick and old in Winter.

  14. ScottesNo Gravatar says:

    Ooops! I just now read the last line…
    Man, do I feel like an arse.

    Actually, I feel like some Ron Zacapa… Or Vizcaya… Yeah, Vizcaya.

  15. […] One exception to void of Last Word tinkering that I found is Rick at Kaiser Penguin, who substituted St.Germain for Green Chartreuse and also used lemon juice.  Good job Rick; this sounds interesting and will definitely be on the try this soon list…if only St. Germain were available in Texas.  Rick definitely fits into the category of understanding a drinks individual components and their union, so I think you might want to test this one as well.  C’mon, you didn’t have anything important to do tomorrow anyway. […]

  16. […] One exception to void of Last Word tinkering that I found is Rick at Kaiser Penguin, who substituted St.Germain for Green Chartreuse and also used lemon juice. Good job Rick; this sounds interesting and will definitely be on the try this soon list…if only St. Germain were available in Texas. Rick definitely fits into the category of understanding a drinks individual components and their union, so I think you might want to test this one as well. C’mon, you didn’t have anything important to do tomorrow anyway. […]

  17. helenaNo Gravatar says:

    A bit late to the party but i got a bottle of Maraschino yesterday and was anxious to try it: i don’t have Chartreuse but your Next to Last Word sounded perfect and i’m sipping it right now :) – so nice just maybe a tad sweet but all components play so well together (used Hendricks gin)

  18. […] notion that certain drinks are seasonal has been known to raise the ire of some, but it’s fair to say that the winter months do bring to mind a few specific […]

  19. […] sure gets around. I first posted about it way back in ought-six, and since then a good chunk of the boozy blogosphere has also hailed this excellent drink. The Last Word has its own thread at eGullet, […]

  20. BestDarwinNo Gravatar says:

    I have noticed you don’t monetize kaiserpenguin.com,
    don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional bucks every month with new monetization method.
    This is the best adsense alternative for any type of website (they approve all sites), for more
    info simply search in gooogle: murgrabia’s tools

Leave a Reply





Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com