The Best Type Of Gin For A Classic Last Word Cocktail

Everything deserves a comeback, and the Last Word cocktail has found just that. It has seen its share of crazy times as a popular cocktail during the Prohibition era that eventually made its way into the famous cocktail book, "Bottoms Up", by Ted Saucier in 1951. Shortly after that, the Last Word sort of fizzled out ... until recently. 

A quiet revival took place in the early 2000s when a bartender in Seattle ran across the delicious cocktail while perusing the book. The drink caught on and gracefully made its way from coast to coast. Slowly but surely, the Last Word has made its presence known, and once again, the name is recognized on a menu.

The sophisticated cocktail is a mix of gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur. Shaken with ice, the Last Word has unique flavors and it is quite refreshing. Since both gin and green Chartreuse have herbal notes, those botanicals shine through while you also taste the sweetness of the maraschino as well as the tartness of the lime.

If you'd like to make your own Last Word (why wouldn't you?), you'll need the right gin. For those new to the world of gin, the choices are sometimes overwhelming. Gin has botanical flavors to it, meaning it's floral, herb-like, and sometimes earthy. Still, each bottle has its own nuances that affect your drink.

Choosing the right gin

Gin gets its distinct flavor from the juniper berry and is created by distilling clear alcohol and then allowing the juniper berries to steep in it for different lengths of time, depending on the gin. Sometimes other flavors are added as well, such as coriander, Orris root, Angelica root, lemon, orange, cinnamon, or licorice. 

As you can imagine, tasting is the best way to choose the right gin for yourself since they vary greatly. However, if there's no opportunity to taste, you can't go wrong with a London dry gin with light juniper notes when making a Last Word.

The reason the Last Word needs milder juniper notes is that you want each spirit and ingredient to take its turn as the star note in your drink. Gins that are heavily juniper-forward drown out the other flavors in the drink. The cocktail needs balance, with a hint of juniper, a hint of citrus and herbs from the green Chartreuse, and a hint of lime and cherry. Some excellent London dry gin brands are (but not limited to) Bombay Sapphire, Highclere Castle, and Ford's gin.