Throughout beverage history technology has brought many new and improved ways to imbibe; bottled wine (rather than clay pots), wide-mouth beer cans, and of course the wine glass on a rope.  Unfortunately, sometimes technology moves in reverse.  For example, back in the 18th century there were gin vending machines; nowadays we have to talk to a bartender.

That’s right, over 200 hundred years ago in London, drinkers could walk up to the outside wall of a bar, put their mouths on an “Old Tom” (I’ll explain) and for a penny, get a mouthful of gin.

The “Old Tom” was a cat-shaped plaque mounted on the bar’s outside wall.  Drinkers would drop a penny in the cat’s mouth and put their own mouth over a tube near the cat’s paws.  A bartender inside would then pour a shot of gin into this early gin-o-matic, and voila!  Can you imagine how this would go over in the East Village today?

Old Tom gin is a sweeter version of London Dry gin – simple syrup was added to distinguish it from the other gins on the market. This style was wildly popular in England during the 1700s. It also happened to be the gin of choice for making a Tom Collins (gin, lemon juice, soda) in the 19th century. As of the 1950s, this style of gin was not available in the United States.

Luckily, Hayman’s has arrived back on the scene. It’s round on the palate and the touch of sweetness really highlights the botanicals. The founder of the Hayman’s distillery also happens to be the same guy who invented Beefeater gin.

This gin is great in some classic cocktails like a Martinez or Ramos Gin Fizz or you can try my Violette Femme.

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