Cocktail enthusiasts have held out hope for years, and the event finally happened a few weeks ago: Tanqueray Malacca was re-released into the market. You might recognize the brand Tanqueray as a commonplace gin, known for its green bottles and Christmas-like pine and juniper-forward notes (my grandfather's favorite). But Tanqueray Malacca—said to be a "wetter" alternative to London dry—is even more fabled and celebrated. Originally released in 1997, the clean and dry gin was hailed by famous cocktail historian David Wondrich as the closest thing to Old Tom Gin, the old gin recipe used in the 18th century—particularly significant for such early recipes as the Turf Cocktail (equal parts gin and vermouth) and the Tom Collins. However, in 2001, the producers Diageo decided to discontinue the product, and there hasn't been a widely known substitute.
Then earlier this year, Diageo announced that it would have a limited re-release of the historical gin in February 2013. Rejoice! About 100,000 bottles are said to be released worldwide on-trade (sold to hotels, restaurants, and bars) as of this month. The company held a re-launch party in San Francisco's trendy Trick Dog bar a few weeks ago. Here are some highlights from the event.
We did get to try some of the spirit at the event. At 80 proof, Malacca proved to be a very dry, clean tasting gin with a short finish—very easy to drink. The event also featured several Tanqueray cocktails, including three with Malacca. We were lucky to sample two.
The Malacca Malacca Fizz was a bright, creamy, and airy drink made with Malacca, pineapple, cream, lime, Suze, cinnamon, egg white, and soda—the perfect drink for the tropics.
The Malacca Briars, on the other hand, was a spiritous counterpart, with deep berry notes. It was made from Briars, Malacca, Leopold Blackberry, Duplais Blanche, and salt.
Throngs of industry people showed up that night! The bouncer even had to hold people at the door for while because there were too many people inside. According to Diageo's press release, Malacca was re-released into the market in response to industry demand.
Needless to say, the bartenders had their hands full all night.
The little reunited family of Tanq 10 and Malacca in action behind the bar (Malacca on the right).
Overall, a happy welcome back to the old/new spirit. Check out the full slideshow for the event here: