Make way for Cat’s Paws Gin – This Old Tom style gin is inspired by 18th century recipes, distilled with 14 botanicals then balanced with a lemon, ginger and honey syrup. Sweet and peppery on the nose, while on the palette sweet notes give way to a smooth, liquorice finish.
We’ve wanted produce an Old Tom style gin for a while now. With a delicious flavour profile and an interesting history it was guaranteed to be worked into an Innovations release at some point.
In the 18th century gin drinking wasn’t the refined and refreshing experience you’ll be familiar with. Gin was barley potable, described as disgusting and sometimes poisonous, but it was cheap! To mask the burning alcohol merchants would add a sugar syrup. The British government tried to stem the flow of gin with prohibitive taxes, which drove the scene underground. To get around this, landlords attached secretive signs to the outside of pubs, marked by a Tom cat. Under the cat sign was a slot to put money in and a lead tube. From the tube would come a shot of the sweetened gin, poured by the bartender inside the pub. This gin with a sugar syrup became known as “Old Tom Gin” as it was most often served through the cat plaque, specifically under the Cat’s Paw!
A note from the Head Distiller
Back at the beginning of the Innovations launch in 2017, I’d jokingly suggested doing an “Old Ted” gin, a reference to my pops and a Batch take on an Old Tom. Fast forward to 2021 here is the Cat’s Paws – think bees knees or dogs doodhas.
Using my pops as an influence we now have this gin. Taking the base botanicals from Industrial Strength Gin, I removed frankincense and myrrh, as my dad wasn’t religious, swapped out the green cardamom for a black cardamom as that’s the kinda attitude my dad had. Plus I love the smokey aroma of the black cardamom. The addition of jasmine and lime leaf was down to my dad’s love of thai cuisine and the hint of licorice and vanilla was a direct nod to the face he smoked after a few jars down the boozer, with licorice rolling paper. As for the syrup, after working with Jordan at Moorhouses, he’d mentioned a strain of hop called lemon drop. This instantly reminded me of A Quarter Of Gin we produced in 2019, and the whole sweet shop vibe. So these were added to honey and ginger, the famous lockets flavour combo… As if sweets can heal a cold. I used honey rather than sugar as my uncle was a beekeeper in his time. The hop brings a nice citrus earthy herbaceous note to this gin.
Anyways , stop reading and start drinking right meow!
Lemon drop hop
This month’s striking artwork is from the talented Bodie Cameron who took inspiration from the old wooden plaques that would sneakily dispense Old Tom Gin.
50ml Cat’s Paw Gin
This is a beautifully balanced gin with sweet and herby notes, so we’ve gone for a simple serve with tart and sweet blood orange garnish to compliment the citrus syrup in Cat’s Paws Gin. If you can’t get hold of blood orange, lemon makes a great substitute for the garnish.
Club member serve
Thanks to Innovations member Simon, we have a Club member special serve. We sent Simon a mystery sample of March’s spirit back in February. Simon and Elma have crafted the following. We can’t wait to try it!
If you’re looking for something a little stronger, check out our City Kitty Cocktail