That Boutique-y Gin Company's David T. Smith gives us the lowdown on the Icewine Old Tom...

The recent revival of Old Tom Gin, which had all but vanished 10 years ago, has seen various distilleries innovate to give this historic product a twist, bringing it up to date for the modern day. Old Tom’s were typically sweetened and more botanically intense than other gins, in part to help disguise the flavour of the underlying alcohol on which the spirit was based.

Back in the 18th century, distillers would have used whatever was to hand to sweeten gin. In the case of a product like Gordon’s, this was simply pure cane sugar, whilst others were botanically sweetened with liquorice root.

In the 21st century, distillers are using a host of different ingredients to add sweetness - and sometimes more complexity - to their gin, including honey, caramelized demerara, stevia and agave syrup. For Icewine Old Tom, That Boutique-y Gin Company has used Canadian Icewine.

What is Icewine?
Icewine is a sweet dessert wine that is made using grapes that freeze whilst still on the vine due to cold weather. The water inside the vines freezes, but the other components, such as sugar and any other solids dissolved in the water, do not.

When the grapes are pressed, the must (the juice that comes from the squeezed grapes) is concentrated with the flavours and sweetness of the wine. It also means that the yield (i.e. how much wine you can make) is smaller than a wine made using the equivalent quantity of non-frozen grapes.

The main icewine producing nations are Germany (where it is known as Eiswein) and Canada (mostly Ontario), although some is also made in the US, Japan and many central and eastern countries in Europe.

Icewine Old Tom


That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Icewine Old Tom takes a classic, copper pot distilled gin and adds Icewine from Canada (where in order to be considered icewine, the grapes must be harvested at a temperature not exceeding -8°C). Lemon, lime and liquorice root are also added to the gin’s botanical mix.

The Label
The label shows our classy cat, looking rather pleased with himself as he strolls through a frozen vineyard, snug as a bug in a rug whilst sipping on a Tom Collins. In the background, you can see the majestic Niagara Falls - a nod to the major Icewine producing nation of Canada.

The Taste
Nose: Intriguing, with a deep muskiness and hints of grapefruit; close your eyes and breathe it in!
Taste: Honey and raisins with little flecks of spice and pine.
Finish: The sweet complexity of Sauternes with the dryness of a white Pineau des Charentes. A delight for gin and wine lovers.

The Drinks

Icewine Old Tom Collins
50ml Icewine Old Tom
20ml Lemon Juice
75ml Sparkling Water
Garnish with a few frozen grapes.
Add the Icewine Old Tom and citrus to a wine or gin tonic glass half full of ice and give it a gentle stir. Add the sparkling water and garnish.

This recipe breaks with tradition as it is designed to be served in a wine glass or even a gin tonica glass rather than the traditional long and tall collins glasses. The wider-rimmed wine glass makes it easier to appreciate the complex aromas of the spirit, whilst also making it easier to retrieve the grape garnish to munch on when the drink is finished.

Icewine Old Tom Aperitif
50ml Icewine Old Tom
50ml Red Vermouth
3-4 dashes Aromatic Bitters (optional)
Add both ingredients to a large wine glass - or, even better, a brandy snifter - and add a couple of ice cubes. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Ice Wine Old Tom & Ginger
50ml Icewine Old Tom
150ml Ginger Ale
Garnish with lime wedge
Add the ice to a tumbler or old-fashioned glass. Pour the Icewine Old Tom over the ice, top up with ginger ale, and garnish with a lime wedge. For a more tart drink, simply squeeze the lime wedge.