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]

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 the Gin Craze, the British government tried to stem the flow of gin with prohibitive taxes and licensing, which drove the scene underground. Under the cat's paw sign were a slot to put money in and a lead tube. From the tube would come a shot of gin, poured by the bartender inside the pub.[2]

Old Tom Gin was formerly made under licence by a variety of distillers around the world; however, one was recently relaunched by Hayman's Distillery based on an original recipe.[3] Since then a number of other companies have followed suit, such as: Booth's; Secret Treasures; The Liberty Distillery; Tanqueray; Langley's; Jensens; Ransom; Master of Malt; The Dorchester Hotel; The London Distillery Company Ltd; and Sacred Spirits.[4]

An Old Tom Gin made by J. Wray and Nephew Ltd. of Jamaica is also commonly found on the market.

Old Tom Gin is specified for Jerry Thomas' cocktail called the Martinez in his 1887 Bartender's Guide, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks.[5] The first record of it being used in the Tom Collins cocktail was the 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl: When and What to Drink.[6]


  1. ^ Cocktail-DB - Profile Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 21 June 2008)
  2. ^ Simonson, Robert (4 August 2012). "Old Tom Gin". Imbibe. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  3. ^ "A toast to Old Tom". Oh Gosh. 29 January 2008. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  4. ^ "Old Tom Gin Tasting – 10 Varieties Compared". Summer Fruit Cup. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  5. ^ Thomas, Jerry (1887). "Martinez Cocktail" recipe. Bartender's Guide, How to Mix All Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks. p. 25.
  6. ^ Schmidt, William (1891). The Flowing Bowl: When and what to Drink : Full Instructions how to Prepare, Mix, and Serve Beverages. C.L. Webster. pp. 179. Retrieved 25 November 2008. tom collins gin 1800–1900.

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