The “L” Word


by Raul Faria

I created the “L” Word cocktail for a charity event put on by Backbar USA benefiting Tony Abou Ganim’s Helen David Relief Fund that benefits Bartenders affected by breast cancer. It was called “For the Love of Cocktails” and it tasked 14 Mixologists to create a cocktail themed around love and Valentines Day featuring 14 amazing spirits. I was lucky enough to get Woodford Reserve Double Oak for my base spirit. A truly amazing Bourbon.

My inspiration for the “L” Word was the cocktail the Last Word and I decided to create my own version utilizing St Germain Elderflower Liqueur and rose water instead of the Luxardo Maraschino, lemon instead of lime and to add fresh strawberries. I figured what says Valentines Day more than flowers and strawberries? I also wanted to incorporate another Valentines Day staple the  conversation heart. The candy garnish featured the Helen David Relief Fund logo and all the components of the cocktail as well. Lets make an “L” word.

Lets get our tools together; we will need our Boston Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer, a jigger with 1.5 oz, a 1 oz and a .75 oz measure, our Double-Strainer, and an 8-10 oz cocktail glass. Our shopping list will include Woodford Reserve Double Oak, Yellow Chartreuse, St Germain, Lemons, Strawberries, and Rose Water. Optionally you will need 2 pounds of powdered sugar, gelatin or agar agar, a large cutting board as our clean sanitized counter top, a Kitchen Aid Mixer, a rolling pin, and red food coloring…its a Valentines Day cocktail…its gotta be pink 🙂

We can begin by getting our prep out of the way If utilizing the super cool convo heart garnish. Be sure to plan ahead as these will need 24 hours to set.

Infused Conversation Hearts– This candy is super simple combination of sugar, Gelatin (or Agar Agar for a Vegan friendly option) and sugar. Begin by adding .25 oz of gelatin or agar agar, 1 oz of corn syrup, 1 cup of hot water and microwave for 30 seconds. Be sure mixture is blended smooth then add to Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. Now add 1 cup of powdered sugar from our 2lb bag. Mix on the lowest setting until blended. Keep adding all the sugar cup by cup until we get a sticky ball of dough. Once its all in there lets add our flavoring. We will need 2 oz of Woodford Double Barrel, 1 oz of St Germaine, 1 oz Yellow Chartreuse, .5 oz strawberry flavoring, .5 oz of lemon flavoring, .25 oz rose water and a barspoon of red food coloring. Your dough ball is now gonna be SUPER sticky. Time to add more powdered sugar. Keep adding and mixing until we get a dryer, more manageable dough ball. Before we start kneading the dough and rolling it out, we will need to prep our cutting board with a layer of powdered sugar so it doesn’t stick to it too much. Now lets lay the dough ball out and roll it flat. Cut into 4 flattened squares about 1/4 inch think. Start using the heart shaped cookie cutter to make our convo hearts. Insert cocktail garnish picks into the hearts and set them out on a silpat or powdered sugar lined tray to dry out. Re-knead any remaining dough and repeat for the remaining sections. If you do not have the cocktail picks you can cut a slice into a whole strawberry and add the garnish like the photo above.

Strawberries– We will be utilizing trimmed and sliced strawberries. The trimmed strawberries will be used for muddling. We simply need to remove the stems from the strawberries with a pairing knife. For the slices we will slice the strawberries by setting them down on the fat end and slicing down. Creating heart shaped slices and keeping the leafy green parts.

1) We can begin by adding 2-3 (depending on size) trimmed strawberries to the mixing glass. Always be sure all fruit is washed before it is used in the cocktail or even as a garnish.

2) Next lets add our 1 oz of St Germain. We’ve used this truly incredible elderflower liqueur from France in our  Strawberry Truth and our God save the Queen. Its got the aromatics and flavors of elderflower plus the perfect level of sweetness.

3) Now we will add just a drop of rose water. When I say a drop I mean a DROP. This stuff goes a looooong way so dispense with care unless you feel like drinking perfume.

4) Lets muddle our ingredients.

5) Now that we have our ingredients muddled lets add our 1 oz of our Yellow Chartreuse. Ahhh the “Elixir of long life”. Love this stuff. Technically the Green Chartreuse was the old school alchemists secret recipe, the Yellow variant was introduced to the world by the Carthusian Monks in 1838 (see brand spanking new) and is generally more accessible in flavor and in cocktail construction. It is said that Yellow Chartreuse includes saffron giving the distinctive yellow color. Only two Carthusian Monks know the complete 130 plants, herbs and flowers in this secret recipe.

6) Time to add our 1 oz of lemon juice. Slice our lemons and utilizing our citrus press we can squeeze right into the jigger. If you plan on making more than one Id recommend squeezing them into a separate container through a double-strainer to catch all the pulp and seeds. Store for later use.

7) Lets add our 1.5 oz of Woodford Reserve Double Oak. It smells like fresh wood right after a rain. Wonderful aromas and flavors of oak, toffee, caramel and also an oaky, almost tannic dry finish. Simply perfect in my humble opinion. Woodford Double Oak is made by taking the traditional Woodford Reserve and utilizing a high toast and very light char barrel to mellow in for around 9 months. Woodford spends 6-7 years in high toast and light char barrels so Master Distiller Chris Morris sought to increase the influence and the presence of the oak plus present it in a different way in terms of flavor. The Double Oak achieves this by adding that additional resting period in a barrel that is toasted and charred in a different manner. This stuff may be hard to find but its worth the effort. If you cant find the Double Oak feel free to use Woodford Reserve in this recipe.

8) Next add ice and shake! Double-strain into our chilled 8-10 oz cocktail glass and garnish with a strawberry slice and the optional but very cool infused conversation heart. Enjoy!

The “L” Word– 3 trimmed strawberries, 1 oz of St Germain, 1 oz lemon juice, muddle ingredients, add 1 oz Yellow Chartreuse, 1.5 oz Woodford Double Oak, and a drop of rose water, shake double-strain into chilled 8-10 oz cocktail glass. Garnish with strawberry slices and the optional Infused Conversation Heart.

A very special thank you to Tony Abou Ganim for all that he does to advance the craft of Bartending. Be sure to visit to find out how you can help out the Helen David Relief Fund and check out Tony Abou Ganim’s Books and Barware or even find out where to catch the Modern Mixologist live.

Also a big thank you of course to everyone at Backbar USA, Tim Haughinberry, Flor Bernal Gonzalez, Lucia Cifonelli, Jana Blackburn, and Josh Payne for putting on one of the most fun events featuring craft cocktails the city of Las Vegas has ever seen. The talent in the room and their creations were simply overwhelming and I was humbled to be among them.

Click here to check out the video of “For the Love of Cocktails” courtesy of Backbar USA

Click here to check out Tony Abou Ganim, Tim Haughinberry and myself as we discuss the Helen David Relief Fund and For the Love of Cocktails.

Below are some pics from the Party. Thanks to Mona Shield Payne for the pro pics!




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  1. […] Chartruese to the mixing glass. Weve used Yellow and green Chartreuse in a few other recipes like The “L” Word and Bitter Betty. Full of herbal flavor with notes of […]

  2. […] put on by Backbar USA and more info on upcoming events and learn how to make my cocktail “the L word” […]

  3. […] Check out our cocktail from last year’s For the Love of cocktails, the L Word, here. […]

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