New spirit brand Gin Lane 1751 offers a drop of history
Spirits connoisseur Jason Butterworth takes a detailed look at Gin Lane 1751, a classic Victorian style gin that was supposedly a favourite with Winston Churchill.
Gin Lane 1751 is made at Thames Distillers in London and was created by Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers and gin group The Bloomsbury Club.
The brand, which launched in June of this year, is described as a “gin for gin lovers” – a “celebration of the Victorian gin-making era, with a style of bold juniper and hints of liquorice”.
A small batch gin created in London, Gin Lane 1751 is actually one of very few gins to create an Old Tom, the style which typified the Victorian era.
The Old Tom style is lighter and less intense than a London Dry, with a sweet note. The Gin Lane 1751 Old Tom achieves this subtle sweetness from the star anise botanical and touch of refined sugar.
The result is a full-bodied, perfectly balanced gin. Each bottle has been individually numbered and the gins are hand-crafted in small traditional pot stills. There are eight natural botanicals – juniper, orris root, Seville oranges, angelica, Sicilian lemon, star anise, cassia bark and coriander – which create a well-balanced, complex gin.
Winston Churchill is reputed to have been a fan of Old Tom Gin, finding London Dry too dry and the Geneva-style gin too sweet.
The origins of the name ‘Old Tom’ are shrouded in mystery and somewhat anecdotal, with drinks historians attributing it either to the sign of a cat on the door of the notorious Captain Dudley Bradstreet’s speakeasy bar, or the cat’s head shaped brass plate above the Gin Houses; punters would put a penny in the cat’s mouth in exchange for a drink. Gin Lane 1751’s Old Tom plays tribute to the legends with its own black cat on the label.
Signature Serve: Old Tom Collins
2 parts Gin Lane 1751 Old Tom
1 part Lemon Juice
1 part Simple Syrup
Add the lemon juice, simple syrup and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a highball or Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge.
The Gin Lane 1751 range is available to purchase from TheWhiskyExchange.com, priced at £21.25.