A bartender in need

The history of mixed drinks is, in general, pretty murky. The creators of many drinks have seen their names drift away from the record while the credit often falls not to the first person who made a thing, but to the first person who wrote it down. The question of why some drinks make it into however a loosely-defined canon as we have is one that I keep coming back to, so the news that one of the solid links we have between a drink's hazy backstory and its current popularity could use some support is something I wanted to flag up. I can't put it any better than the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for the Last Word cocktail:

The Last Word is a Gin based prohibition-era cocktail originally developed at the Detroit Athletic Club. While the drink eventually fell out of favour, it has recently enjoyed a renewed popularity after being rediscovered as a cult hit in the Seattle area by Murray Stenson, a bartender at the Zig Zag Café.

Since 2004, the Last Word has enjoyed a remarkable revival - it forms the basis of an annual Chartreuse-sponsored cocktail competition in the UK and has even lent its name to a bar. Murray Stenson's role in that revival can't be understated; his decision to include it on the Zig Zag Café's menu in 2004 is arguably the seed from which the drink's return to relevance grew.

By now, I'd guess that most people with an interest in cocktails have heard that lately Murray has been unable to work due to a heart problem and, having spent somewhere north of thirty years as a bartender, I'd guess that most people wouldn't be surprised to learn he is uninsured. One of the benefits of living in the UK is nationalised, Government-supported healthcare that's free at the point of care, so I can't imagine what it's like to have to deal not only with a major illness but also the stress of having to cover the cost of treatment. I've never met Murray Stenson but I felt moved to contribute something towards helping him and you can do that at either MurrayAid or through this page on Facebook.

Posted on October 23, 2012 and filed under Links.