Tom Nichol - Master Distiller

- interview by Sara Gorelick
Photo Credit: H. Dziekan - Getty Images

Sara had the chance to catch up with Tom Nichol at the Tanqueray Lounge at the Andaz Hotel in New York during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Tom, who is the Master Distiller of Tanqueray Gin, has been in the important role since April 2006.

  1. How did you begin your career?
    a. My career started by following my father in the whisky industry in a small distillery just yards away from our home. I still work with the same parent company 38 years later. My career has spanned the making of whisky, neutral spirit, vodka then ultimately gin.

  2. What do you do as the Tanqueray Master Distiller?
    a. A Master Distiller has to have many qualities, probably too many to mention, but off the top of my head I would say that passion, experience and knowledge have to be amongst the top priorities.

  3. Have you always been a gin fan?
    a. As a younger man on holiday in Spain I had one of those memorable moments in life when I was sitting alone at a beach side cafe, having a gin and tonic thinking this is what life is all about. In that moment Tanqueray Gin became my preference.

  4. What are you currently working on?
    a. Every day I have the opportunity to create one of the world's most popular gins, Tanqueray. The fact that it's sold in hundreds of countries around the world, and is virtually on every backbar you can find, makes me very proud. On top of that, we are always experimenting with new things.

  5. What is your favorite cocktail and what do you order behind the bar?
    a. My favorite cocktail is a Tanqueray No Ten Martini from one of my favorite hotels in London or Scotland. The two gentlemen who make them for me know who they are. I appreciate excellence. My normal order from behind the bar is a Tanqueray London Dry with tonic (bottled tonic).

  6. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
    a. I wear my heart on my sleeve so there is not much people don't know about me.

  7. What would you say is the most important part of your job? The most challenging?
    a. Tanqueray is very popular so keeping up with sudden demands can be quite stressful and there are lots of other challenges thrown into the mix that you deal with everyday. The most important part of my job is making sure that we continue to bottle what our consumers expect from Tanqueray - excellence.

  8. Do you have a favorite ingredient to mix with Tanqueray? A favorite Tanqueray cocktail?
    a. I am a lover of fresh mint and will leave it to the many exceptional mixologists around the world to craft their particular cocktail.