The idea of distilling an Old Tom Gin was the brain child of our young distiller Rory Smith. Rory loves to play around with cocktails and frequently after work can be found tinkering and experimenting with spirits behind the bar, mixing up incredible innovative cocktails for us all to try, .. Yes! He is an absolute pleasure to work with! Below you can find a recipe to his favourite Old Tom Cocktail. Rory's thinking was that the Old Tom Style got lost in modern times but when it comes to "Craft Cocktails" this gin is the best and he wanted to help and be a part of its modern day resurgence.
The history of gin in general is fascinating and the story of the Old Tom Gin (or Tom Gin or Old Tom) dates back to 18th-Century England and plays a huge part in the history of our favourite spirit. 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 was 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!
As a Gin Style it is slightly sweeter than London Dry, but slightly drier than the Dutch Jenever.
We use Norfolk Honey and fresh Mango in our distillation process which, along with Demerara sugar gives the gin a slightly caramel colour. These rich flavours then lead to notes of pink pepper, black pepper and cassia which all add some warmth. Plenty of fresh grapefruit peel lends the gin a subtle dryness yet the honey and vanilla give it a lovely sweet finish. This Gin is a perfect sipping gin to enjoy straight on the rocks, once mixed with tonic the lemon and the grapefruit really shine through.
So, if you have not had the pleasure of trying our newest addition, you can buy a bottle direct from our online shop or from the Ten Bells Pub on St Benedicts Street in Norwich and below is a cocktail recipe for you to try.