By: Amanda Narcisi
Gin was widely popular in the 18th century England and, as a result, the English government placed bans and regulations on the gin industry that drove it underground. Since gin was then a black-market item it got boring and needed a new twist. The gin producers started to add sugar and other botanicals to improve on taste. This gin was called “Old Tom” and was obtained from the bootleggers by placing a coin in the mouth of a “wooden cat-shaped plaque” on the outside of the bootleggers’ home.
When Wigle released Ginever a few years ago, owners Meredith and Alex Grelli researched a lot of gin and stumbled across the stories of “Old Tom” gin. Then Jill Steiner, Wigle’s Director of events and Public Relations and distiller Neil Klingman headed up the development of Tom Foolery, Wigle’s first Old Tom Gin. Tom Foolery is a combination of the base organic wheat and organic malted barley. During its third run through the still, it goes through a gin basket that contains juniper, lemon peel, vanilla, licorice, angelica and other botanicals. Then Tom Foolery is aged in a used wheat whiskey barrel for 8 months.
In honor of the release of Tom Foolery, Wigle is holding a cat themed release party. On March 24th from 6-9PM at the Wigle Distillery will feature cat themed cocktails, a pet photo contest, yarn crafts, live music, and gin sampling. A portion of the event proceeds will benefit Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Shelter and Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Tickets are available at wiglewhiskey.com and are $15 which includes all activities. Cheers!