An interesting bit of history from Houston bartender Bobby Heugel’s weekly drink column, this week about the Tom Collins:
The era’s infatuation with Old Tom Gin today seems most analogous to our society’s accessibility to and reliance upon Starbucks. Among various other alcoholic habits, Tom Gin fanatics would approach neighborhood bars that had wooden cat silhouettes hanging on the walls — hence the second origin story, that the drink is named after a bar cat. They would then deposit a coin in the cat’s eye, alerting the bartender inside to pour a shot into a tube that extended out from the cats paws. The person would place their mouth on the tube and drink the flowing gin. Now, that’s drive-thru service!
I’m generally optimistic about social progress, but on the availability of Old Tom gin we are clearly backsliding!