Mixologists who are proficient in making signature cocktails know the value of quality ingredients. The Paper Plane is a variant of the Last Word cocktail with equal parts of maraschino liqueur, lime, green Chartreuse, and gin. The Paper Plane combines bourbon, Amaro onion, Aperol, and Lemon juice to create a beverage that balances herbal, sour, and bitter notes to achieve a unique layering. Some craft mixologists stick with the gin in addition to the bourbon for the modern version of this cocktail. One absolute thing is the necessity of choosing the best gin for the mixture. We offer our picks for the five best gins to use in a Last Word/Paper Plane.
5. Hendrick’s Gin
Hendrick’s Gin is distilled in the country of Scotland at the William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd. The ABV is 47%. This label launched in 1999 and quickly became a favorite with its blend of rose, cucumber, and various botanicals that give it a floral essence. On the nose, it has the fragrance of juniper with earthy notes and a floral aroma with hints of pine, lime zest, and sweet orange, and a hint of elderflower. On the tongue, notes of juniper, orris root, coriander, and angelica are the first subtle flavors to emerge, followed by refreshing citrus from the lime and orange, fading to black pepper with licorice and hint of saltiness with yarrow. The finish is long with an astringent juniper flavor complimented by cucumbers, rose petals, and Earl Grey Tea for a bitter sensation and dulled warmth at the back of the palate.
4. Hayman’s London Dry Gin
Hayman’s London Dry Gin is distilled in the United Kingdom with an ABV of 47%. It’s a double gold award winner that emerged as a family recipe from the distillers that includes ten botanicals. On the nose, the fragrance of juniper with light and refreshing notes of citrus. On the tongue, it provides an oily and smooth texture that starts with a combination of licorice, angelica, cinnamon, and nutmeg with the earthy low notes of cassia bark and orris root. The layering of flavors strikes with notes that hit and fade into the background as new essences emerge with a good balance that bites at the back of the tongue during the finish.
3. Tanqueray London Dry Gin
Tanqueray London Dry Gin has a historical significance as a high-end spirit, known to be the favorite gin of crooner and film star Frank Sinatra. Tanqueray does not disclose its secret recipe of select botanicals but experts discern simple yet distinct notes of just four main ingredients that form balanced layers in this ultra-dry gin. On the nose are notes of juniper fragrance with hints of licorice and angelica along with coriander seed for a balanced yet simple gin that is a device of the citrus found in most other gins. The lack of super-complexity makes this the perfect gin for mixed drinks to allow the citrus to be introduced through the other requirements of a paper plane. Tanqueray London Dry Gin is a favorite of mixologists for various signature cocktail creations.
2. Citadelle Reserve Gin
Citadelle Reserve Gin is one of the more exceptional dry gins. They distilled it in France at the Maison Ferrand distillery with an ABV of 45.2%. They set this label apart as an aged gin requiring a long process. The distillers age this label in repurposed cognac barrels with a cedar plank. This process contributes to its unique flavor. On the nose, it emits a fragrance of dry wood with hints of tannin, the earthy essence of toasted almond and coriander seeds with notes of pine tar and macadamia nuts. There is a slight smoky quality on the palate with hints of pinecone and juniper at the first impression on the tongue. Nutmeg and cardamom flavors surface at mid-palate with fennel and anise notes, giving way to a floral and citrus finish. A mixture of botanicals with astringent qualities and long cedar notes combine for a long finish. Other known ingredients include cornflower, cubeb, cumin, genepy, blueberry, cassia, grains of paradise, lemon, orange, orris root, Yuzu, savory, and iris, which combine in an indistinct potpourri effect on the palate.
1. Monkey 47 Gin
Monkey 47 Gin is a German label developed with ingredients sourced from a hodgepodge of traditions leaving toward British and Indian recipes that go back centuries. Herbs and berries sourced from the Black Forest with Asian botanicals from India are blended during the distilling process with a total of 47 handpicked ingredients created with soft spring water from Germany gives it the unique flavor fans of the gin have come to appreciate. The most prolific ingredient is local cranberries, which add to the complex and high-quality gin. It is created and allowed to mature in earthenware vessels. On the nose, the initial fragrance of juniper is followed by floral and citrus notes with a subtle hint of pepper and other spices. Subtle hints of bitter fruit emerge on the tongue with a unique balance of crisp citrus notes with a hint of bitterness followed by a hint of sweetness.