- extra strong gin; sometimes termed CAT’S WATER. Various reasons are given for the use of the words OLD TOM. The distillers have the sign of a tom cat on their illuminated placards. The origin of the phrase is, however, in the fact that the managing clerk of a once celebrated “gin-spinning” firm, who was known as OLD TOM, used to keep a special bottle of extra good stuff with which to regale customers when they settled their accounts. To get a drink of OLD TOM’S was then a great favour. Gradually the title became popular as representing very good strong gin.
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