Old Tom Gin Cocktail (Boker’s Bitters)

Despite the terrible name, the Old Tom Gin Cocktail is actually quite old, first being published in 1900.  This cocktail was first written about by (the unfortunately named) Harry Johnson in his “New and Improved Bartenders Manuel”.

The drink itself to me is very reminiscent of many pre-prohibition cocktails that you don’t see any more, much too sweet and not much balance.  The drink features Boker’s Bitters but then goes on to add a sweet gin (old tom) and some simple syrup (gomme syrup) to the mix.  A dash of absinthe adds a bit more herbal bitterness to the mix, but even with it I am still not much of a fan of the original recipe.  I could see this one being improved though, possibly by omitting the syrup and possibly adding more bitters and maybe a dash of vermouth.  A lot of possibilities here so it will take me a while to figure out how to perfect this one, but the recipe itself shows promise….just not the way it was written 116 years ago.

Old Tom Gin Cocktail3 dashes of gum syrup
2 dashes of bitters (Boker’s in this case)
2 dashes of absinthe
1 wine glass of old Tom gin

Shake on ice and serve up.

Note: this is the original recipe so for those of us not living in the days before people had measuring instruments, a “wine glass” is approximately 2 oz.  The more you know..