For spiced tea lovers, here’s a new way to enjoy spiced tea: with spiced gin. It’s an alternative to a rum toddy, also known as hot buttered rum.
Look for Darnley’s View Spiced Gin, Edinburg Gin’s Spiced Orange Gin and Opihr, a London Dry Gin with oriental spices.
Brew a cup of spiced tea and add a tablespoon of gin; relax and enjoy. Then, gather friends for a sophisticated cup of tea.
No spiced gin? Check out friends’ travel plans: We had bottles brought back to us by a colleague who regularly visits England because we couldn’t can’t find them locally.
Alternatively, you can infuse Old Plymouth Gin or a brand that doesn’t scream “botanicals!” to you. Add allspice, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. Follow the directions for how to infuse vodka.
If you’re a real do-it-yourselfer, you can make gin from scratch with this homemade gin kit.
And then there’s the easy default: Use whatever gin you have on hand.
A nice twist: gin with similar spices as you’ll find in Constant Comment and other spiced teas.
TANQUERAY MALACCA GIN
Tanqueray Gin relaunched its Malacca expression earlier this year. The gin was discontinued after a short run from 1997 to 2001.
Unlike Tanqueray’s well-known London Dry Gin—the juniper-infused style that most people think of as gin—Malacca is more like Old Tom Gin, a style that faded away in the 20th century but is enjoying a small renaissance (see below). Malacca is flavored with citrus and a hint of spice—though not as much spice as the spiced gins above.
Tanqueray Malacca Gin was introduced in 1997 as a “wetter” (sweeter) alternative to the London Dry Gin. It was launched as a better gin for sweet gin drinks like the Gimlet and the Tom Collins. It didn’t take off as the company had expected, and was discontinued.
But it was before its time. Over the last decade, the demand for the older style of gin has grown, as evidenced by the launch of several Old Tom-style gins, reviving a style popular in 18th-century England.
OLD TOM GIN
Old Tom gin is popping up again in England, with brands such as Hayman’s and Ransom. (If you can’t find them in the U.S., ask a favor of a friend who travels to the U.K.)
More citrusy and not as focused on juniper and other botanicals, Old Tom gin is a style that was popular in 18th-century England but faded away in the 20th century. It is currently undergoing a small renaissance.
Old Tom is slightly sweeter than London Dry gin, but slightly drier than Dutch jenever, the original gin.
The name is said to come from wooden plaques shaped like a black cat (an “Old Tom”) that were mounted on the outside wall of some pubs in 18th century England for passing pedestrians. After they deposited a penny in the cat’s mouth, they would place their lips around a small tube between the cat’s paws. On the other side of the wall, the bartender would pour a shot of gin into the tube. (Yes, it sounds very unsanitary to us moderns.)
See the different types of gin.