Christian Jensen, a banking IT specialist, was working in Tokyo and came across a hidden bar serving a “Naked Martini” – just London Dry gin and a twist of lime. Jensen enjoyed the drink so much he regularly returned to the bar during his stay, and on his last visit before returning to London he was presented with a bottle of the gin by the owner. This gin was no longer in production, and the brand on the label was illegible. Jensen made it his personal mission to find or recreate his new favourite spirit when he was back in London.
A sip of an Old Tom-style distillation offers an interesting look into the history of gin. Sweeter than your classic London dry, it’s often referred to as “the missing link” between old-school Dutch genever (the sweet spirit from which modern gin originated), and the now popular London Gin.
Originating in Britain during the 18th century, Old Tom was the traditional gin of choice for cocktails like the Tom Collins, Gin Rickey, and Martinez. The spirit all but died out in the middle part of the 20th century, though these days it’s enjoying something of a revival. The UK’s Hayman Distillers launched an Old Tom gin in 2007, which is probably the most well known but others soon followed suit including Jensens Gin.