Anyone looking for a barometer on American cocktail culture need only research Tanqueray Malacca. The spirit started life in 1997 as an alternative to the juniper-dominated London Dry style that still defines the gin category for many drinkers today. Originally, Malacca was developed as a modern substitute for Old Tom Gin, which gained popularity in 18th-century England as a wetter, sweeter and more citrusy alternative to London Dry and was used as the foundation for classic gin cocktails including the Tom Collins. According to Tanqueray, Malacca's particular formula was based on a recipe of spices developed by Charles Tanqueray himself in the 1830s.
Despite its desirable position as a critical substitute for classic cocktail recipes, Malacca was discontinued by Diageo (owners of Tanqueray) a short four years later. That's when things got interesting. The soft and rounded spirit, defined by notes of grapefruit, cinnamon and florals, quickly obtained cult status. Discontinued bottles began commanding incredible bids at online auction houses as fans scrambled to lock up the dwindling inventory of the innovative spirit.
Though Malacca's lifespan had proven to be short, the experiment still managed to successfully launch a new revolution of gin in America. Soon, both major and boutique distillers began releasing Old Tom homages of their own in addition to other styles like sloe gins and so-called "New American" gins. The market had finally caught up to the explosion of cocktail culture in the U.S. -- but the love for Malacca never really died.
Luckily for gin fans everywhere, the roar from the industry's newly rediscovered rockstars -- bartenders -- proved too much to ignore. Diageo decided to give Malacca another chance in 2013 by releasing a limited edition of 10,000 cases, destined mainly for bars. Intrepid imbibers can still find individually numbered bottles floating around specialty retailers for a very reasonable price of approximately $30. Pick some up while supplies last and substitute it for your current favorite gin in classic recipes of the G&T, Gin Toddy and, of course, the Tom Collins for a spiked and spicy kick of citrus that'll leave you questioning your loyalties to London Dry in the first place.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers