With On Trade value sales increasing by 21% and Off Trade sales by 10% since last year, gin is currently one of the fastest going spirits categories of 2016 amongst UK consumers. However, stemming from the Victorian period, the British public’s love for gin is steeped in history, and it is this love affair that has inspired the traditional recipe for the Bermondsey-based gin, Jensen’s Old Tom.
The British public’s love of gin reached its peak during the 18th century during what is now known as the ‘Gin Craze’, when, due to the lack of clean drinking water and the introduction of distilleries, gin became the drink of choice amongst the masses, with over 10 million gallons sold from 7000 dram shops per year. However, the accessibility and lack of regulation during the distilling process had several negative side-effects, including increased reports of alcohol related illnesses and a significant rise in crime and poverty in major cities. As a result, a law was passed, aptly named the Gin Act, putting an end to rogue distillers and unlicensed merchants.
The ‘Gin Act’ forced distillers to follow strict rules and regulations in relation to producing and distributing gin: distillers were no longer permitted to sell to unlicensed merchants, and new distilling methods were implemented to produce a spirit free from the impurities that plagued previous recipes. The new methods ultimately led to a hike in price (due to the introduction of expensive licences) and, in turn, a hike in quality, as distilleries had to justify the increase in price. The regulations resulted in the creation of the pure, flavourful version of the much loved tipple that we recognise today.
Jensen’s Old Tom is a tribute to the new and improved gin stemming from the latter years of the Victorian era, and Chris Jensen, the gin’s founder, made it his personal goal to revive the old traditions and recipes from the period that had previously been forgotten. The original recipe for Old Tom is taken from a handwritten formula in a distiller’s handbook from the 1840s (which left clear instructions to go heavy on the botanicals and put a strong emphasis on clear spirit) and is distilled in small batches using only traditional botanicals and a British wheat based spirit. Jensen’s purity and versatility appeals to top mixologists and bartenders, and is best enjoyed served in a traditional Negroni.
For more information on Jensen’s Gin, click here.