Drink of the Week: The Prosecutor

The Prosecutor. Cocktail names are a bit like rock band names. You can pretty much pick a noun and there’s a good chance there’s already been a drink named after it. So, as I was pondering the news of the day and trying to find an appropriately topical cocktail, it suddenly occurred to me that there had to be a cocktail somewhere in the world called the Prosecutor. And sure enough, there was, and its name was even generated by the woman who bringsĀ this unabashed pinko a great deal of my news.

A delicious variation on The Last Word, the Prosecutor was named by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who played no small part in introducing me to the cocktailian world during the waning days of her “Air America” radio show. The drink itself was, as per the absurdly prolific Frederic Yarm, concocted by Boston bartender Josey Packard.

What’s in a name? I haven’t a clue, but the Prosecutor is really quite delicious. Refreshing, well-balanced, super boozy and sweeter than you might expect, it’s not a bad way to welcome the summer this Memorial Day weekend.

The Prosecutor

1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur

Put everything in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake as vigorously as you think necessary to bring sense into an apparently brain dead 40% segment of the populace, and strain into a well chilled rocks glass. Sip and appreciate the fact that justice may actually be done…eventually. Partially. Maybe.


Except for one round with the last of the tasty, no-name, artisanal elderflower liqueur I used last week, all of my stabs at the Prosecutor contained St. Germain, which is an absurdly delicious product in any case; for me, it brings back childhood memories of illicitly licking up honeysuckle nectar. My ryes included the last of my Hochstadter’s, as well as Woodford, Rebel Yell Small Batch and Canadian Club 100% rye. The first and last were probably the sharpest, sturdiest attempts at the Prosecutor; the others were slightly more on the mellow side, but all were really pretty delightful.

I think the secret to this one is the way the Yellow Chartreuse — which is sweeter and, at 80 proof, a mellower brew than its green sister beverage — and the St. Germain blend to overpower the lemon juice but not the whiskey. Also, I think serving this in a smallish rocks glass, as opposed to the more typical cocktail glass, is an intriguing final touch. Somehow, it just makes the drink seem more judicious. And, no, I really don’t know what I mean by that.

Coming soon: I promise to be developing my own augmented take on the Prosecutor. Any guesses as to the name?