By Chad Carns

A retro throw back to 1800’s golden age of cocktails, Ransom “Old Tom” Gin is a serious gin with notes of cardamon, lotus root and oregano.

This Old Tom Gin is a historically accurate revival of the predominant Gin in fashion during the mid 1800’s and the golden age of American cocktails. Ransom spirits is a one man, artisanal distillery in Sheridan, Oregon run by Tad Seestedt. The Old Tom gin is all done on an alembic pot still and the recipe was developed in collaboration with historian, author, and mixologist extraordinaire David Wondrich. It has just a touch of sweetness, a golden amber color and is made from malted barley and corn. Old Tom is the Gin for mixing classic cocktails dating from the days before prohibition. Its subtle maltiness is the result of using a base wort of malted barley, combined with an infusion of botanicals in high proof corn spirits. The final distillation is run through an alembic pot still in order to preserve the maximum amount of aromatics, flavor and body. Only the “heart of the hearts” (the very best portion of distillate) is retained for this special bottling.

Old Tom Gin (or Tom Gin or Old Tom) is a gin recipe popular in 18th-century England. In modern times, it became rare but has experienced a resurgence in the “Craft Cocktail” movement. It is slightly sweeter than London Dry, but slightly drier than the Dutch Jenever.

The name Old Tom Gin purportedly came from wooden plaques shaped like a black cat (an “Old Tom”) mounted on the outside wall of some pubs above a public walkway in 18th century England. Owing to the Gin Craze, the British government tried to stem the flow of gin with prohibitive taxes and licensing, which drove the scene underground. Under the cat’s paw sign was a slot to put money in and a lead tube. From the tube would come a shot of gin, poured by the bartender inside the pub.

Old Tom Gin was formerly made under license by a variety of distillers around the world; however, one was recently relaunched by Hayman’s distillery based on an original recipe. Since then a number of other companies have followed suit, such as: Both’s; Secret Treasures; Jensens; Ransom; Master Of Malt; and The Dorchester Hotel.

Retail: $40

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About The Author

Chad Carns
Founder / Food & Drink Editor

Chad Carns put his Digital Creative Director job on hold to follow his passion for food, wine and culture downtown to Greenwich Village where he wrote, designed and independently published The Gourmet Bachelor, a trendy cookbook featuring easy recipes for two. Carns studied culinary arts and wine at prestigious institutions in NYC. He is a distinguished guest judge at International Culinary Center, certified Tuscan Wine Master and Founder / Food and Drink Editor of The Gourmet Bachelor.

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