It’s rainy and yucky and full of ennui today with more of the same in the forecast, but that is no reason to not have a drink. It does make choosing a little more challenging. Part of me wants to go tropical or tiki, part of me wants to do something scotch heavy and autumnal and part of me wants to skip the whole thing and curl up with a good book. However, duty calls, so I am going for a riff on an old friend adapted for a dreary fall day. Won’t you please join me now as we stand and make, The Final Ward.

I kind of want this one to have a wizard theme, Potter or Dresden, any Harry will do, but that is not what this one is about. We aren’t making wards here, this one was actually made by a Ward. Phil Ward, specifically, from New York’s Death & Co. where he created it for the menu in 2007. This is a riff on one of my favorites, The Last Word, swapping in a rye for the gin and lemon for the lime, which ought to be awesome on a chilly afternoon. It is a simple swap, but it makes a difference. We’ve talked about this before, but all cocktails build on a handful of original recipes, everything that comes after is just a variation of those. Ecclesiastes nailed this one, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” So, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel here, let’s just make the drink.

This is one of those fun equal parts cocktails, so grab your tins and pop in 3/4 of an ounce each of Rye, I used James E. Pepper 1776; green Chartreuse; Luxardo Maraschino Cherry liqueur and fresh squeezed lemon juice, throw 2 drops of 18-21 Havana and Hide bitters in there, for good measure. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Tom Wait’s “Alice” my traditional first dreary day of autumn soundtrack. Double strain into a chilled something pretty and garnish with a lemon twist.

Of course, it is lovely, different from The Last Word, but in a good way. What it loses in crispness, it makes up in falling leaves, a fiery edge and general appropriateness to the day. It’s a good call for this time of year and is well worth making, add it to your repertoire and break it out for company from time to time. I’d love to write more, to philosophize about how the shorter days lead to less Vitamin D possibly triggering seasonal depression, but you all know that already. If the Carpenters are to be believed, rainy days and Mondays are supposed to get us down anyway, so I guess everything is going according to the plan. I think I am going to put on my headphones and go for a walk in the rain, clear my head and enjoy the change of season. We could all use a change. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends