Making a mean G&T at home is simple. But have you experimented with Gin beyond that?
Not yet? Don't worry. We're here. Today, let go back to classics, in specific to the forgotten ones. The OLD TOM.
Old Tom plays a significant role in the history of gin. Quaffed by the bucketload during the 18th and 19th centuries, it served as something of a bridge between Dutch Genever and London Dry, drier than the former and sweeter than the latter.
The Old Tom name has more origins than the entire Marvel universe put together. One commonly heard story points towards the biography of author Captain Dudley Bradstreet, who claims to have invented a one-stop gin shop – known by history as a Puss & Mew shop – that could help enterprising booze hounds get their fix following the Gin Act of 1736.
In the window of a little building in London, he hung a sign featuring an old tomcat. Beneath the cat’s paw, there was a slot into which the city’s thirsty masses could drop a coin. The coin received, Bradstreet would pour a shot of gin through a lead pipe, directly into the patrons waiting mouth.
Old Tom dominated the gin scene for decades, but as technology improved – and with it, distilling techniques – there became less of a requirement for sweetening agents and adding huge quantities of botanicals to cover the base alcohol.
It wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century, when cocktail culture truly re-awoke, that the call for Old Tom to come back grew loud enough for gin brands to take notice.
Recommended Old Tom: Langley's Old Tom
Recommended Cocktail: Tom Collins | Hot Toddy