Friday, July 20, 2012

Old Tom Has a New Pair of Shoes

A Tom Collins wouldn't be a Tom Collins without Old Tom gin.  Period.  Old Tom gin lends that silky, slightly sweetend profile that other gins simply don't have.  There are few distillers out there that produce this form of gin but I prefer the tried and true Hayman's brand and the Rasom brand, based out of Portland, Oregon.  Ransom definitely has more spice and character than Hayman's so you probably want to be a bit more reserved on what type of cocktails you want to use it in.  Hayman's is tends more suited towards cocktails that involve more sugar and citrus, such as the classic Tom Collins and Ramos Gin Fizz; while Ransom is an ideal choice in cocktails with stronger components, as in what some consider the original Martini, the Martinez

Old Tom gin was all the rave back in the late 19th century and it quickly became the spirit of choice in the Tom Collins cocktail.  The first use of the sweetend gin in this widely popular drink was published in the 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl and What to Drink.  This is a really excellent way to utilize the gin and it got me thinking about how to approach a product that is typically only used for a specific drink like the Collins.  Gin and sparkling lemonade is a tastey beverage so that is as good as any place to start.  Come to think of it, this gin would make an excellent Buck syle beverage. 

British Buck
1-1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Cucumber Syrup
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3 dashes Rhubarb Bitters
Ginger Beer
Lime Peel or Wedge for Garnish

Shake everything but the ginger beer with ice.  Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with ginger beer.  Garnish and enjoy.

Ransom's spicy character lead me to contimplate a cocktail that played with rye and sweet vermouth.  I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Martinez, while creating something completely seperate at the same time.  I really like the bitter/sweet character of Punt e Mes, which is basically a sweet vermouth with chincona bark and a few other herbs and spices infused in it.  Blackberry is a fantastic flavor to blend with rye and using Creme de Mure added the extra depth without having to use a jam, or syrup. 

The Pretender
1 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 oz Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Creme de Mure
1 dash Jerry Thomas Bitters
Lemon Peel for Garnish

Stir with ice till chilled.  Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice or one large ice cube. Garnish and enjoy.

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