Old Tom Gin

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Old Tom Gin (or Tom Gin or Old Tom) is a gin recipe popular in 18th-century England. In modern times, it became rare but has experienced a resurgence in the "Craft Cocktail" movement. It is slightly sweeter than London Dry, but slightly drier than the Dutch Jenever, thus is sometimes called "the missing link".[1] Unlike many gins which are produced in a column still today, Old Tom Gin is produced in a Pot still. [2]

The name Old Tom Gin purportedly came from wooden plaques shaped like a black cat (an "Old Tom") mounted on the outside wall of some pubs above a public walkway in 18th century England. Owing to a scandalous news report of a tragedy involving a murdered family, gin was outlawed and went underground, changing from a cloudy liquid to its modern clear form so as to appear like water. After a pedestrian deposited a penny in the cat's mouth, they would place their lips around a small tube between the cat's paws. From the tube would come a shot of gin, poured by the bartender inside the pub.[3]

Old Tom Gin was formerly made under license by a variety of distillers around the world; however, one was recently relaunched by Hayman's distillery based on an original recipe.[4] Since then a number of other companies have followed suit, such as: Both's; Secret Treasures; Jensens; Ransom; and The Dorchester Hotel. [5] The first written record of Old Tom Gin being used in the Tom Collins cocktail was the 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl: When and What to Drink.[6]


  1. ^ Cocktail-DB - Profile (accessed 21 June 2008)
  2. ^ "Haymans gin website". Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.oldtomgin.co.uk/oldtomgin3.html Old Tom Gin
  4. ^ Oh-Gosh-Old Tom Gin (accessed 21 June 2008)
  5. ^ Summer Fruit Cup - Tasting of 10 Old Toms (accessed 13 March 2011)
  6. ^ Schmidt, William (1891). The Flowing Bowl: When and what to Drink : Full Instructions how to Prepare, Mix, and Serve Beverages. C.L. Webster. p. 179. Retrieved 25 November 2008. 

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