Old Tom Gin

What is Old Tom Gin?

If you are a gin lover, you may have heard of Old Tom Gin, but do you know its history and what makes it unique? Old Tom Gin is not your typical gin, and its distinct flavor profile sets it apart from other gins on the market.

In this post, let’s dive into the intriguing origin story of Old Tom Gin and explore why it’s worth a try.

What is Old Tom Gin?

Old Tom Gin is a type of gin that was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, mainly in England and America. The story behind its name is quite interesting and involves a cat-shaped plaque that hung outside pubs to indicate where to buy gin.

When someone wanted to buy gin, they would put their money into a slot in the cat’s mouth and wait for their gin to be dispensed. This “Old Tom” plaque indicated that the pub sold gin. Some also believed that Old Tom Gin was named after a notorious gin seller in London known as Old Tom.

The main difference between Old Tom Gin and London Dry Gin is that Old Tom Gin is slightly sweeter and less dry. The sweetness comes from adding sugar to the distillate or blending the gin with a sweetening agent such as licorice. The sugar also helps to mask the strong taste of juniper berries, which are the main flavoring ingredient in gin. Old Tom Gin typically has a golden or amber color, unlike the clear London Dry Gin. It’s also lower in alcohol content, around 30-35% ABV compared to London Dry Gin’s 40% ABV.

Old Tom Gin fell out of popularity in the early 20th century due to the rise of London Dry Gin, which was perceived as a more refined and high-quality gin. However, in recent years, Old Tom Gin has experienced a resurgence in popularity amongst gin enthusiasts and mixologists. Some say that Old Tom Gin’s sweet yet complex flavor is better suited to cocktails than London Dry Gin.

One notable brand of Old Tom Gin is Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, which traces its roots back to the 19th century. The modern version of Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is made using an original family recipe that includes ten botanicals, such as juniper, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The gin is then rested in oak barrels before bottling, which gives it its distinctive golden color and smooth finish.

If you’re looking to try Old Tom Gin for the first time, start with a classic cocktail like the Tom Collins. The Tom Collins is a simple yet delicious cocktail made with Old Tom Gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup, topped with soda water and garnished with a cherry and lemon slice. The sweetness of the Old Tom Gin balances perfectly with the tartness of the lemon juice, creating a refreshing and well-balanced drink.


Old Tom Gin is a classic gin with a rich history and a unique flavor profile. Its slightly sweet and less dry taste makes it a great choice for cocktails and a delicious alternative to London Dry Gin.

If you’re a gin lover looking to try something new, give Old Tom Gin a chance. Who knows, it might just become your new favorite gin!

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