Since 2011, Ableforth‘s has been producing a range of original and reimagined spirits inspired by by-gone eras and modern technology alike! Now, Ableforth’s is celebrating a successful series of summer activations with Nicholson’s Pubs, which showcased the historic Old Tom gin style and its rich backstory during the operator’s summer-long nationwide Gin Festival.
Much like today 18th century Britons witnessed a gin craze, with juniper-led libations gaining an astonishing following. Unlike modern-day drinkers, they had to contend with dangerously made, often illegally-produced products packed with unpalatable impurities. To remedy this, gin compounders cleverly sweetened their gin to mask off-flavours – and the Old Tom style was born.
At the same time, to capitalise on the gin boom the government levied huge taxes against distillers and purveyors of the spirit. To circumvent these, shopkeepers saw fit to hang up the sign of a cat, a secret signal to imbibers that they could get their gin fix without shouldering the enormous duties. All they had to do was push a coin through a slot in the cat’s mouth and gin would be poured through a pipe beneath its paw and into a waiting glass. These so-called Puss and Mew houses were an integral part the history of Old Tom gin, and an interpretation updated for 2017 is central to the Ableforth’s activation.
After a tutored tasting of Bathtub Gin Old Tom, interested consumers were able to purchase a coin from the bar and re-create their own Puss and Mew moment by pushing it through the mouth of a cat, positioned on the large-scale house. Hidden inside was an Ableforth’s bartender and working bar top. Instead of dispatching gin, the cocktail-maker pushed an Old Tom Collins serve through a hatch in the front of the house.
The refreshing Tom Collins serve perfectly complements Bathtub Gin Old Tom. The cold-compounded gin is sweet on the nose with pronounced botanical notes, light on the palate, led by juniper and orange, and rounded off with a touch of pepper on the finish.
“It’s fascinating to see how consumers have been excited by our revival of the Puss and Mew house, demonstrating a real interest in hearing about the history of gin, as well as drinking it,” said Adam Wyartt, global brand manager, Ableforth’s.
“This not only speaks highly of them but also of the job being done by operators like Nicholson’s in devising and promoting gin festivals like these, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”
Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin Old Tom is part of the Nicholson’s Pubs Gin Festival, which took place across the UK during summer 2017.