This one comes once again from the Savoy Cocktail Book, and is, essentially, a variation on the martini. You might think with a name like this that it would be blue or green or have a fish in it or something, but no. Nothing to do with things oceanic whatsoever.
1/2 Old Tom gin
1/2 French (dry) vermouth
1 dash absinthe
1 dash orange bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with an olive and a twist of lemon peel.
We’ve discussed Old Tom gin before; it was a popular style during the 19th and early-20th centuries, before London Dry became the dominant type of gin. It’s slightly sweetened, but is still unmistakably gin. I searched long and hard for a bottle of Hayman’s, which is not distributed here in New Mexico (I picked up a bottle on a recent trip to my ancestral California home) – but just a few weeks ago at my local liquor store, I saw not one, but two other Old Tom gins, one distilled up in Colorado, and one made right here in Albuquerque. So clearly, Old Tom gin is making a comeback of sorts. Which is good – the more gin options, the better. As long as we don’t wind up with a bunch of flavored gins, such as has happened to vodka. But don’t me started on that.
Anyhoo. The Deep Sea cocktail is a fine martini-like concoction. The lemon twist is critical, giving the drink a light citrus tinge (the orange bitters contribute as well). The absinthe doesn’t do much, as I didn’t really pick up any anise notes. The gin takes a back seat to the vermouth here (so use a quality vermouth, please) but not so much that you can’t tell you’re drinking gin. Four livers.