Cocktails with… Anchor Old Tom Gin

Anchor Old Tom Gin is made by Anchor Distillery in San Francisco – the same distillery that produces one of the first American gins that I ever tried (and still one my favourites): Junipero. Following a recent change to their range, however, my favourite now goes by the name Juniper San Francisco Strength (49.3% ABV) rather than Junipero Export Strength (46% ABV).

Anchor Old Tom was the first gin that the distillery had released for a number of years and was the result of a rather studious amount of research and development. Given that one of the classic Old Tom Gin cocktails, the Martinez, has been long associated (through fact or fiction?) with the town of Martinez, which is just 30 miles away, it is perhaps surprising that The Bay area has not produced an Old Tom before Anchor launched in 2014, but – nonetheless – I was eager to try this one.

The gin’s botanical mix includes some of the regulars (juniper, coriander, citrus), but they’re accompanied by others that add a little sweetness: star anise and licorice. In addition, the gin is sweetened, but not with sugar or honey, but stevia (a natural sweetener from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant species). It is bottled at 45.0% ABV.

On its own
Nose: A full nose of juniper, juicy pine, and a little woody angelica and spice.
Taste: This has a viscous texture that is smooth and fills the mouth. There are notes of juniper with black pepper and menthol upfront; this moves onto sweet liquorice and a touch of orris. There’s a sweetness, before more spice appears. The finish has a touch of sweet spearmint and pepper.

Martini
Whilst sweeter than many Martinis, it is by no means overly sweet. There are plenty of sweet, piney, sappy notes, as well as some menthol spice. Mellow and smooth.

Martinez
The sweet fennel and anise notes work really well alongside the herbal notes of the red vermouth. This is a very smooth cocktail with plenty of flavour.

Negroni
This Old Tom makes a very smooth Negroni with plenty of flavour coming through, as well as some extra sweetness. Finally, there’s a long finish of juniper and menthol.

In Conclusion
Anchor Old Tom Gin is a great addition to the range of Old Toms out there; it has a smooth texture, bold flavour, balanced sweetness, and a lovely interplay of herbaceous and spiced notes. My favourite drink was the Martinez.

Anchor Old Tom is available for around £41 for 75cl from Master of Malt

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