Introducing Winchester Distillery’s interpretation of an authentic ‘Old Tom’ Gin; a slightly sweet and botanically complex style of gin that was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries and is the base of classic cocktails such as the Tom Collins and the Martinez.
Old Tom Gin initially came about after the creation of the characterful malty Dutch spirit, Genever but before lighter, purer Dry Gin, which became possible by the invention of the Coffey Still in the 1830's.
From the records and accounts of this historically popular spirit, Old Tom would have been made using a pot-distilled malt spirit, more akin to a juniper-flavoured moonshine than vodka, and was often sweetened using liquorice root (being more affordable than sugar or honey) to make it more palatable.
To make our Old Tom, we pot distil six traditional botanicals - juniper berries, liquorice root, coriander seed, bitter orange peel, angelica root and calamus root - with 96% ABV spirit (as required by EU law) then blend in our own malt spirit (double distilled in our pot still).
The elevated levels of liquorice root in our botanical mix creates an earthy, sweeter-tasting spirit, typical of the Old Tom style.
As Old Tom was transported in and even served directly from a barrel - the wood character adding further body, texture and sweet spice flavours - we rest our Old Tom in lightly toasted French oak casks before bottling.
We believe we've succeeded in creating a rich, delicious and authentic Old Tom Gin - perfect served with Fever-tree aromatic tonic and a slice of orange
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