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

Treaty Oak Old Yaupon Waterloo Gin
88 points
Golden amber color. Aromas and flavors of hot rubber, grilled lime leaf, clove, galangal, rooibos, citronella, and cinnamon smoke with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a swift finish revealing elements of grilled pineapple finish. Interesting exotic flavors make this gin a unique cocktail component.
88 points $29.99
Gin Lane 1751 Old Tom Gin
87 points
Clear color. Aromas and flavors of melted scented candle, dried fruits and geraniums, pickled herring with caraway, and nut oil with a supple, soft, fruity medium body and a tingling, medium-length finish evoking notes of fruit leather, pepper jelly, and saline. A curious Aquavit-like Gin for exotic savory cocktails.