Style Icons of Gin on the Old Tom Catwalk

GIN is just gin, right? It smells and tastes of juniper and you have it in a tall glass with tonic and a slice of lemon, right? Think again. We are the Starbucks coffee-culture generation with our decaf chocca mocha skinny tall sprinkly syrup concoctions so it figures that the uncomplicated, trusty London Dry G&T is now a ‘classic’ as the gin categories grow with a few young pretenders on the scene, perhaps? Exciting times…

This week’s tastings are a veritable cat-walk of style icons – a classic London Dry, a Bathtub Old Tom and Navy Strength so batten down the hatches!

York Gin, classic London Dry – 42.5% ABV

The first gin from the historic city of York, created to a classic London Dry recipe to reflect the rich history and classic nature of the city. Made in a copper still named Ebor, after the Roman name for York Eboracum; this is a crisp, dry and very ‘drinkable’ London Dry. With its black cat motif (a symbol of York), it is the gin with nine botanicals, including lemon peel, grains of paradise, cardamom and black peppercorns. Serve with pineapple and Fever tree Mediterranean tonic. Try neat over ice or with Yorkshire strawberries, a twist of black pepper and a premium tonic.

Bathtub Old Tom gin – 43.3% ABV

This is an interesting gin, combining two older styles of gin. Bath tub in itself is a cold compound or infused gin as opposed to the more traditional distillation process involving a heat source. Its name comes perhaps from the copper bath tubs used to actually infuse the alcohol during prohibition or the bath taps used to water down the pots of gin created, again during prohibition, that were too big for the sinks. The gin is sweeter than a classic London Dry, the citrus elements (orange in this case) are more prominent, and there is a light hue to the gin due to its infused nature. The Old Tom uses liquorice to sweeten the gin. Serve with Orange zest and Double Dutch skinny tonic.

NB Navy Strength Gin – 57% ABV

Steve and Viv Muir created the NB (North Berwick, East Lothian Gin) through a series of experiments in their kitchen. They set out to make the ‘perfect gin’ and within a few years of starting they were awarded the title ‘Best London Dry Gin’ at the World Gin Awards. Their attention to detail is exemplary. Their perfect list of botanicals are juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, grains of paradise, cassia bark, ground cardamom, lemon peel and orris root powder. They are meticulous in their production process, ensuring the temperature of distillation varies by no more than 1% and the distillation time is timed to perfection. The result is a clean, crisp London Dry which is classic in aroma and taste. Juniper and Cardamom are the first botanicals to appear before a citrus hit from the lemon and a subtle heat from the grains of paradise and cassia. Their Navy Strength variant follows the same production processes as their standard London Dry but is bottled at the higher ABV of 57%. Serve with aromatics tonic and a twist of lemon or grapefruit. Alternatively, try with orange peel and Peter Spanton cardamom tonic.