About Old Tom Gin

About Old Tom Gin
Old Tom Gin is the last remaining example of the original lightly sweetened gins that were so popular in 18th-century England. The name comes from what may be the first example of a beverage vending machine. In the 1700s some pubs in England would have a wooden plaque shaped like a black cat (an "Old Tom") mounted on the outside wall. Thirsty passersby would deposit a penny in the cat’s mouth and place their lips around a small tube between the cat’s paws. The bartender inside would then pour a shot of Gin through the tube and into the customer’s waiting mouth. Until fairly recently limited quantities of Old Tom-style Gin were still being made by a few British distillers, but they were, at best, curiosity items.

Top Picks for Old Tom Gin

Gin Lane 1751 Old Tom Gin
90 points
$24.99
Clear color. Rich, complex, curious floral green aromas and flavors of anise seed, warm milk and honey, and hint of peppermint vanilla bark with a glycerous, crisp, off-dry medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, medium-long spicy flan, honeycomb, pepper, and dried herbs and straw finish. A subtle, not-too-sweet Old Tom gin.
90 points $24.99
Barrister Old Tom Gin
86 points
$29
Clear color. Piney aromas of Douglas fir, citrus leaves, and geranium with a velvety, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a silky, easy lemon tea and white peppercorn finish. A velvety and mild gin for easy-drinking cocktails.
Brenyolver Old Tom Gin
84 points
$25
Brilliant copper color. Aromas of caramel, stone pine, malted barley, and parsnip with a coarse, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, breezy vanilla yogurt with cinnamon, green apple lollipop, lime peel, and thyme finish. A rough riding Old Tom Gin for mixed drinks.