Bartenders Reveal Their Deathbed Drinks

Many have thought long and hard about what they would choose for their last meal on earth (and usually land on steak, or sushi, or everything on the Taco Bell menu), but few consider their final beverage. Since there is no better way to bid adieu to the world than with a strong cocktail in hand, we asked bartenders for their deathbed drinks. While the responses were varied, there’s one thing they all agree on: it sure better be a big one.

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Vieux Carré

“Drinking a Vieux Carré was the first time I had a truly amazing experience with a cocktail. I was a wet-behind-the-ears bartender, and a more seasoned colleague suggested I try this classic drink from New Orleans. It contains Bénédictine which remains to this day my favorite cocktail ingredient. This drink never fails to fortify the spirit.” — Sean Kelly, The Modern, New York, NY

Old Fashioned

“I'd have an Old Fashionedbourbon, medium sweet. It's possibly still the best cocktail and my favorite drink to make. I'd definitely want to make it myself, too. I know just how I like it.” — T. Cole Newton, Twelve Mile Limit, New Orleans, LA


“Not only would it be a Sazerac. I’d have it with a ferocious, unapologetic barrel-strength rye like Thomas H. Handy, and a big, spicy French absinthe. It is definitely my favorite cocktail; I even have a Sazerac tattoo on my leg to display my commitment to this classic beauty.” — Bryan Tetorakis, Polite Provisions, San Diego, CA

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Lagavulin 25-Year Old Fashioned

“It’s an incredibly special bottling of what Lagavulin does best and I love a smoky, peat filled scotch Old Fashioned. For me, that’s a great, final mic drop.” Bruce Cole, Primehouse, Chicago, IL


“Made with a decent rye on the rocks. It's a drink that if made properly—not equal parts—I would be okay with taking the dirt nap soon after drinking. It would have to be a big one though.” — Bob Begandy, Dusek’s Board & Beer, Chicago, IL


“It’s a classic from the Savoy Cocktail Book made with Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, and green Chartreuse. I would choose Redbreast 21-year, because it’s strong enough to deliver, while at the same time complex enough to allow one to reflect on a good life, lived well.” — Patrick Williams, Punch Bowl Social

Bacon Fat-Washed Bourbon Old Fashioned

"My last drink on earth would be a decadent one to be sure. I’m thinking about a bacon fat-washed Michter’s bourbon Old Fashioned, sweetened with maple syrup and garnished with a side of Chef Portale’s seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Do not resuscitate!” — Jason Hedges, Gotham Bar and Grill, New York, NY

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Dry Gin Martini With a Twist

“I’ve always found it easier to make peace with my maker when gin is involved.” — Roger Landes, The Loyalist, Chicago, IL

Barrel-Aged Negroni

"Ideally, it’s made with a really great well rounded gin, like The Botanist, Campari and Amaro Montenegro, which gives it a slight sweetness that is just warm and welcoming. If there's time before the world ends, if we could shove that cocktail into a charred white oak barrel for about a month—that's my mountain top. It would be like reading a super old rare leather bound book, while smoking the best cigar ever." — Zack Berger, Analogue, New York, NY  

French 75

“A French 75 with No. 3 gin, yuzu and Pol Roger to top. The play of gin from London, yuzu from Japan, and Winston Churchill's favorite Champagne is plenty complex, but also bright and full of thoughts of sunshine, because as a purveyor of the devil's juice, I will need one last taste of the light before whatever dark place I'm destined for after." — Nate Oftelie, M.B. Post, Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J, Manhattan Beach, CA

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Classic Negroni

“A simple Negroni with Plymouth, Cocchi di Torino, and Campari. Nothing too crazy, but those three together just hit my palate the right way every time.” — Jordan Young, Sawyer, Kettle Black and Harbor House, Los Angeles, CA

Wet Martini

“Jacques Pépin said somewhere that for his last meal he'd request nothing more than good bread with plenty of good butter. For myself, I think the only possible parallel is a Martini. Plymouth gin and Noilly Prat, pretty wet, with a few drops of orange bitters and a fat lemon zest, in a nice small glass so I can drink it quickly, while it's still beautifully cold. That's it.” — Dan Smith, Queen Mary Tavern, Chicago, IL

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Old Raj Saffron Ramos Gin Fizz

“If it’s death row, gun to my head, my last cocktail before I die would be an Old Raj Saffron Ramos Gin Fizz, because I’d have time to call my ma and tell her how much I love her.” — Eric Trousdale, Arbella, Chicago, IL

Mezcal Last Word

"The last cocktail I would imbibe as the world crumbled around me would be a mezcal Last Word, built with equal parts mezcal, green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lime juice. There exists no cocktail more complex, smoky, and breathtaking that I would want to accompany my very own last words." — Adam Clarke, Olive & June, Austin, TX

Matthew Kelly/Supercall


“A well-made Margarita on the rocks with salt on the rim. This is a drink I’ve had at all times in my life—good times, bad times, when I was too young to drink and didn’t know what tequila was, and as a more mature person drinking it with fine tequila. If it’s my last drink, I’d love to reflect on the past times on Earth and say salud to everyone.” — Johnny Livanos, Ousia, New York, NY


“A variation of a Greenpoint, a rye-based cocktail that I like to make with añejo tequila, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse, two dashes of Angostura bitters and two dashes of orange bitters. It has a smoothness, but also a bite that lets you know you're having a strong cocktail. I would order it to be served in a Champagne bucket with no ice, somewhere around two gallons. If it's my last, it's going to be a big one.” — Chris O’Neill, Oak + Rowan, Boston, MA

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Mai Tai

“For me, sipping on a great tropical drink would mean that I have my toes digging in the sand, no shirt, warm ocean breeze and waves splashing on the surf. Pretty cool way to have my last drink on earth.” -—Warren Bayani, Chao Chao, New York, NY

Piña Colada

“I never drink frozen drinks because, even though they're undeniably delicious, they don't get you drunk enough. You'd have to have like seven of them. 8,000 calories later, you're buzzed. So, as my farewell libation, I will enjoy a smooth, creamy, sweet drink that I wouldn't have to feel guilty about.” — Dianna Sanders, The Promontory, Chicago, IL

Matthew Kelly/Supercall


“Beyond collecting as many spirits and fruit seedlings as possible to take with me to Mars before Earth is finished off, my last cocktail would have to be a Daiquiri made with Smith & Cross rum, which provides amazing tropical fruit notes that make a Daiquiri just a bit more complex.” — Andrew Grenz, Kuneho, Austin, TX


“Since I can only have one, I’m going go big and have a Zombie cocktail. Not only does it pack a really good punch, but it will ease my transition into the zombie apocalypse that much easier. I love all things tiki—just one sip and you’re already in heaven.” — Morgan Zuch, Datz, Tampa, FL

Hemingway Daiquiri

“Something light and refreshing to kick off my permanent vacation. A novelist's cocktail would be a nice way to end my story.” — Tim Hagney, Maven, San Francisco, CA

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Extra-Strong Piña Colada

“I guess you could call it my guilty pleasure cocktail. It's a drink I pretty much strictly order on beach vacations so the flavor profile is so evocative of those moments on the sand. Also, if this is my last cocktail on earth, it better make me forget it’s my last cocktail, so heavy on the rum please!” — Rolan Meyer, Rosie’s, New York, NY

Bacardi and Sprite

"This may sound weird, but when it comes down to really choosing a last drink, this drink sends me back in time to a place where there were no worries. I drank it from a McDonald's cup at 3 a.m. near our high school baseball field." — Angel Bolivar, Casa Neta, New York, NY

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Aperol Spritz

“My gut says a whiskey, neat. But my heart says an Aperol Spritz. It's like the banjo music of cocktails. You just can't be sad when you hear it. I can't think of a more refreshing cocktail that I'd prefer to enjoy as my last cocktail on Earth.” — Blake Pope, Kindred Restaurant, Davidson, NC


"Beguilingly complex, the Chrysanthemum marries a heavy dose of dry vermouth and Bénédictine, whose vows take the form of the classic absinthe Vieux Pontarlier and two shakes of Regan's Orange No. 6. I like it in a snifter with a discarded lemon twist. It's light, ephemeral, and ineffably delightful—a perfect prelude to our inevitable demise." — Paul Wainright, Parkside, Austin, TX


“It's essentially the most delicious, artificially green, mint chocolate cream milkshake, but with booze. Not only is it delicious, but I am also heavily lactose intolerant. I would prefer not to find out what would be the repercussions of me drinking one of those.” — Cody Goldstein, NYLO, New York, NY

Chartreuse Swizzle

“A V.E.P. Chartreuse Swizzle, made with El Dorado 15-year Sauternes Cask Rum, V.E.P. Green Chartreuse, homemade falernum, fresh pineapple and lime juices, and tiki bitters. Chartreuse is my life force and the V.E.P. Green is just a gift sent from above. This drink is tropical and delicious. It makes me think of sun, summer, and the beach. Combine those things with my insatiable love for Chartreuse, and you get a beautiful marriage of proof and flavor. I'm pretty sure that is the last thing I want my taste buds to experience before I go.” — Jeremy Barrett Annex at GreenRiver, Chicago, IL

Matthew Kelly/Supercall

Beer and a Shot

"Hands down: shot of Jameson and any shitty lager. I'll die a happy man." Gareth Howells, VNYL, New York, NY

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