New gin turns back time

June 16, 2024 BY

Looking back: Larrikin's Grin takes inspiration from Old Tom, a beverage which was popular in the 18th century. Photos: SUPPLIED

TO coincide with World Gin Day, Kilderkin Distillery have launched a new gin with old roots.

Larrikin’s Grin takes drinkers back to the era of the old Old Tom gin recipe which was very popular in 18th century England.

It was known for having a slightly sweet flavour between the Dutch spirit Genever and modern London Dry gins.

Larrikin’s Grin is less spicy than many modern gins, with hints of caramel, juniper, cassia root and citrus.

“We had a bit of fun making this gin and we developed it specifically to release with the Heritage Festival, which coincided with World Gin Day,” said Chris Pratt, distillery owner.

“Where Old Tom came from is unclear but certainly in those days a lot of the gin was distilled illegally and dispensed through a cat’s paw on the door.

“In recognition of that, our label has the picture of a grinning cat.”

Kilderkin Distillery operators have obtained special permission to transport the gin in a barrel in the back of their van, as an alternative to the traditional horse-drawn cart


This Old Tom gin was created using traditional methods, including spending time in a barrel, which traditionally occurred when the spirit was transported via horse and cart to pubs.

As Kilderkin Distillery does not have a horse and cart, a barrel was instead placed inside their van, and to meet ATO requirements, the gin had to be returned to the distillery each night.

“In those days there wasn’t any other containers to deliver the gin so they put it in a barrel, put it in the horse and cart, and delivered it,” said Mr Pratt.

“We put it in the barrel in the back of our van when we were delivering, to capture the style of this type of gin.”

World Gin Day is held annually on the second Saturday in June to raise a glass to the spirit, its history, and gin makers around the globe. It was marked on 8 June in 2024.

To find out more about Larrikin’s Grin, visit the Kilderkin Distillery website.