Quick Sips: Old Tom has the normal juniper of all gins. However, the spirit is slightly sweeter than a London Dry Gin and features far less botanicals.
Uses: Today, Old Tom is hard to come by and if one does find a bottle, it is best used for shaken cocktails. The Tom Collins is the most famous drink to feature the spirit, but to works well with several other Golden Age drinks calling for a sweet base as a compliment as opposed to the center of the libation.
Backstory: Legend has it that old Tom Gin comes from an 18th Century speakeasy tradition. When England became obsessed with fighting the “Gin Plague,” these underground establishments popped up. The dispensaries were marked by signs on the wall depicting a large, black cat. According to the story, customers would insert their coins into a slot hidden in the cat’s paw and a bartender inside would then pour a shot through a lead pipe also hidden in the cat’s paw.