What is Old Tom Gin

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Regarding gin, it’s not just a matter of taste. This classic spirit has a few different styles, each with nuances. One of the lesser-known varieties is Old Tom Gin—and if you haven’t tried it before, you’re missing out! So, what is Old Tom Gin?

Old Tom Gin has a unique flavor profile that’s quite different from other kinds of gin. This style of gin originated in England during the 1700s and is making a comeback with modern-day mixologists and connoisseurs alike.

This article will explore Old Tom Gin and how it compares to other gins. We’ll discover what makes this type of spirit special and why you may want to try it.

What is Old Tom Gin?

If you’re a fan of gin, chances are you’ve heard of Old Tom Gin. But what exactly is Old Tom Gin, and how does it compare to other gins?

Old Tom Gin, simply put, is a sweeter style of gin that has been around since the 18th century. It’s made from a combination of grain alcohol and botanicals, including juniper and citrus peel.

The key difference between Old Tom and other gins is the addition of sweetening agents like sugar or licorice root, giving it an unmistakable sweetness on the palate.

In terms of flavor profile, Old Tom has a slightly sweeter taste than London Dry Gin, with a hint of spice on the finish. It’s usually lightly bodied-and has a more mellow taste than its counterparts. It’s also said to have a velvety texture that makes it ideal for making classic cocktails like the Martinez.

By comparison, London Dry Gin is made with no additional sweeteners or ingredients, giving it its signature dry flavor profile. Meanwhile, Genever (or Dutch Gin) is an old-style gin made with malted barley and distilled in pot stills—meaning it’s often richer than other gins but can still have some sweet characteristics on the finish.

The Origins of Old Tom Gin

Old Tom Gin, also known as ‘sweet gin,’ is an old-school British style of gin. Sometimes referred to as ‘low spirits’ or ‘mother’s ruin,’ it’s rooted in British tradition and is a favorite among discerning gin drinkers.

The name is derived from when Old Tom was sold in wooden barrels out of pubs and shops; a metal plaque in the shape of a cat’s head acted as a spout so you could purchase your tipple without having to knock on the front door!

Juniper berries are crushed and combined with other botanicals like coriander, angelica, licorice, and citrus peel to make Old Tom Gin. A unique sweetener gives this gin its signature flavor, which makes it stand out from other gins on the market.

It has a softer taste, usually with notes of almond or floral sweetness, making it smoother—and more palatable—than London dry Gins.

Characteristics of Old Tom Gin

Have you heard of Old Tom Gin? It’s a type of gin that was historically very popular in the 1700s and 1800s, but it has come back in recent years. If you were wondering what makes it different from other gins like London Dry, here are a few characteristics of Old Tom Gin:


Old Tom Gin is known for its unique sweetness. The sugar content is higher than traditional gins, which makes it a great option for cocktails where you want to add a touch of sweetness.


Old Tom Gin uses fewer botanicals and herbs than other gins. These botanicals are often slightly sweeter than those used in London Dry Gin, making for an even sweeter flavor profile.


Old Tom is lower in ABV (alcohol by volume) than London Dry Gin. This gives Old Tom Gin cocktails milder flavors, and more body than their counterparts made with London Dry Gin. It also makes Old Tom the perfect gin to make lighter cocktails!

Old Tom Gin vs. Other Gins

Old Tom Gin had a huge surge in popularity in the early 2000s, and it’s common to find it on back bars worldwide. But how does Old Tom Gin compare to other types of gin?


Old Tom Gin has a distinct sweetness, thanks to its higher sugar content, usually done using either a sweet syrup or adding sugar directly to the spirit. Old Tom is a great choice if you enjoy sweet drinks, while other gins like London Dry are more dry and tart.

Aromas and Flavors

Old Tom has juniper, rosemary, and citrus aromas, with flavors ranging from cardamom to lavender. Compare this to London Dry or Navy Strength gins, typically lighter on the nose with more floral notes.

Alcohol Content

Old Tom gin sits at 82-86 proof, meaning it’s slightly lower than London Dry gin at 86-94 proof. That makes Old Tom slightly less alcoholic than other gins — but you definitely won’t miss out on flavor!

Serving Suggestions for Old Tom Gin

When it comes to serving Old Tom Gin, the possibilities are endless! The spirit has a subtle sweetness that elevates and enlivens contemporary cocktails. Here are a few great drinks to get you started:

  • An Old Tom Gin Martini: combine Old Tom Gin with dry and sweet vermouth, shake with ice, and strain into a martini glass. Serve with an olive or twist of lemon.
  • A Negroni: balance gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth for Italian perfection.
  • A Tom Collins: equal parts club soda, sugar syrup, and Old Tom Gin garnished with aromatic garnishes and served over ice cubes.
  • A Monk’s Martini: combine gin, elderflower liqueur, and cucumber-infused tonic water in a shaker with ice until chilled before straining into an ice-filled glass—delicious!

As you can see, Old Tom Gin has much potential to enhance classic cocktails—but don’t be afraid to experiment! Try subbing in your favorite Old Tom Gin for the traditional London Dry style in any other favorite drinks you usually make to give them some extra flavor!

Best Brands of Old Tom Gin

What’s the best Old Tom Gin? That’s a question that many craft gin drinkers often ask. Old Tom Gin has been around for centuries, and countless brands are making their own versions of this traditional spirit.

Tanqueray Rangpur

Tanqueray Rangpur is produced with rare Indian Rangpur limes, bay leaves, ginger, juniper, and coriander. It has a zesty aroma and flavor with a smooth finish.

G’Vine Floraison

G’Vine Floraison is distilled in an old family-owned distillery in France’s Cognac Region. It’s produced by infusing rare Ugni Blanc grapes with ten botanicals over a four-week period. The result is a flavorful Old Tom Gin with floral notes and a slightly sweet finish.

Hayman’s Old Tom

Hayman’s Old Tom was developed from an original 19th-century recipe from the Hayman Distillers archives and London’s historic gin district. It is made from a blend of nine botanicals, including juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seeds, and orris root.

Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice

Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice is a unique Limited Edition gin produced in Scotland by adding rose petals to the distillation process, giving it a floral aroma and light citrusy sweetness on the palate, which perfectly balances its juniper notes.

These are just some amazing brands producing delicious Old Tom Gin—a great way to try something new!

Old Tom Gin Cocktails

Old Tom Gin is a perfect addition to any cocktail. Its smooth flavor and just the right amount of sweetness make it especially popular with modern-day mixologists. From classic cocktails to modern twists, you can make unique drinks with Old Tom Gin that your guests will love. Here are some of the top Old Tom Gin cocktails you can make:

  1. The Martinez: This is a classic Old Tom Gin Cocktail that mixes the spirit with sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and a few dashes of orange bitters.
  2. The Negroni: Sweet but not too sweet; this cocktail is made using equal parts Old Tom Gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.
  3. East India: This classic mix combines equal parts Old Tom Gin and sherry with demerara syrup and Angostura bitters for an unforgettable combination.
  4. Ramos Fizz: This bubbly twist on the classic fizz contains heavy cream, egg white, lemon juice, sugar syrup, orange flower water—and of course, Old Tom Gin!
  5. New Orleans Fizz: Another classic fizz variation uses fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup, and cream alongside Old Tom Gin for a creamy treat that goes down easy!
  6. The Aviation: A modern twist on the martini uses lemon juice instead of vermouth to accompany your Old Tom gin for a sour yet delicious sipping experience!


People have questions about the term “Old Tom Gin” that you should know. Here’s the rundown.

What Is the Difference Between Old Tom and London Dry Gin?

Old Tom gins are more aromatic, slightly sweet, and softer on the palate than London Dry gins. This makes for a more approachable gin for those not used to drinking gin but still want to experience its botanical flavors.

How Does Old Tom Gin Differ from Genever?

Genever, an ancestor of modern-day gins, usually has a higher malt wine content than Old Tom gin, making for a slightly sweeter drink. Old Tom gin uses some malt wine in its production process, but it is not enough to make it taste as sweet as Genever.

Can You Use Old Tom Gin For Cocktails?

Most definitely! Old Tom gin is perfect for creating classic cocktails such as the Martinez or even a Negroni that requires just one type of gin compared to the two types used in standard Negroni recipes. It can also work in place of dry or aged gins in many different cocktails!


Old Tom Gin is often called the ‘original’ gin since it predates the other styles. It offers a slightly sweet taste with a hint of spice. It’s not as potent as some other styles, making it a perfect choice for those looking for a smoother, less boozy flavor. While other gins often overshadow it, it’s growing in popularity as more and more people discover its unique flavor.

So, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something different, try Old Tom Gin. It might just become your new favorite gin!

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