Old Tom Gin is a style of gin that was very popular in the 18th century before falling out of fashion with the emergence of the London Dry style. It remained unpopular for many years until the recent ‘craft cocktail’ craze which has seen Old Tom Gins make a comeback. Old Toms are a good option for cocktails as they are sweeter in taste than a London Dry but still a little drier than Dutch Jenever.
The Old Tom style was born as a response to the poor quality alcohol being produced in people’s own homes in London. Sugar and strongly spiced botanicals were added to make it more palatable and to mask the impurities in the spirit.
The name Old Tom allegedly came about as black wooden plaques shaped like a cat (Old Tom) were placed outside some pubs to let gin-thirsty Londoners know that they could purchase some gin from the establishment.
In order to obtain the gin, customers were required to put their cash in a slot in the cats paw and in return the gin would appear through a lead tube having been poured by a bartender from inside the pub.
The underground nature of buying Old Tom Gin was caused by the British government heavily taxing gin during the ‘Gin Craze’. However, instead of stopping the sale of gin altogether, the additional taxes and licensing requirements simply drove the gin scene underground.
Today, Old Tom gins have become popular again due to changing tastes and the demand for sweeter drinks and cocktails.
We have some amazing Old Tom gins from Scottish distilleries that we highly recommend trying.
ABV: 40% | Bottle Size: 70cl | Price: £37.00
Latitude's 51°N is a mouthwatering take on an Old Tom and is made using the finest botanicals native to regions found along the 51st parallel north of the Equator. These include juniper, elderflower, red apple, rosehips, sea buckthorn and ginseng. To add the sweetness, the gin is blended with Canadian maple syrup.
It's perfect as the base for many cocktails and also when sipped over ice, mixed with your favourite tonic water or ginger ale. We recommend garnishing with a slice of apple.
ABV: 41.5% | Bottle Size: 70cl | Price: £38.00
Inspired by the breathtaking Isle of Skye, the Misty Isle Pink Gin is a raspberry infused Old Tom gin made using fruit grown by the co-founders mother.
Along with the raspberries, the gin also contains summer fruits including pears and blackcurrants. The pink hue comes naturally from the fruit.
To serve, we recommend over ice with a premium tonic and finished with fresh raspberries. If you have a really sweet tooth, then mix with lemonade for a refreshing cooler.
ABV: 40% | Bottle Size: 70cl | Price: £38.50
Mackintosh's Old Tom Gin won the Old Tom Gin of the Year and was awarded the overall winner as Scotland's Gin of the Year at the Scottish Gin Awards in 2020!
It's made with the a total of 10 botanicals including juniper, Mediterranean citrus fruits and elderflower and has been distilled with fresh pineapple and grapefruit to give it its sweeter flavour profile.
We highly recommend in a number of fruity cocktails. If looking for a long drink, enjoy over ice with tonic or lemonade and finish with a wedge of citrus fruit.
ABV: 40% | Bottle Size: 70cl | Price: £37.95
Produced in small batches in an old railway arch near the centre of Glasgow, Illicit Spirits is a true urban craft distillery and their take on an Old Tom has been distilled with pink peppercorns, rosehips and tonka beans, and sweetened post distillation with bee pollen and Scottish honey.
It's a sweeter gin bursting with floral and citrus notes and we'd recommend serving over plenty of ice, topped up with your favourite tonic water and garnished with juicy lemon and fresh mint.
ABV: 41.5% | Bottle Size: 70cl | Price: £34.00
Rock Rose's Pink Grapefruit Gin is a classic sweet Old Tom style gin with a zesty finish.
The gin combines all the traditional botanicals used in the classic Rock Rose recipe with fresh organic pink grapefruit peel added to the botanical basket. The gin is then lightly sweetened with muscovado sugar.
We recommend serving over ice, topped up with a quality light tonic and garnishing with a wedge of pink grapefruit.
Click to view our full range of Scottish Old Tom Gins.