Move over, Cabaret, The Ford Cocktail is your older, more interesting sister, and I've invited her to stay for a while.
I recently (finally) picked up a bottle of Ransom Old Tom Gin (after many recommendations from Trey), and have been scouring my cocktail books for recipes to try it in. One of the first I found was in the old standby, Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, for The Ford Cocktail. It's a dusty old drink from 1895, originally found in George Kappeler's Modern American Drinks. It's not named after Henry Ford, but for the story, you should pull out (or buy yourself a copy of) Ted's book. Ransom's Old Tom is a divine incarnation of the classic spirit, co-created with cocktail historian David Wondrich, and I've been enjoying it in neat sips as much as I have in cocktails.
For all the sweeter, more cloying notes of the Cabaret, the Ford has style and grace, with interesting hints of maturity, like that girl in high school who spent a year abroad and has returned with a slight accent and a penchant for Gauloises. Just enough citrus to lighten, just enough Bénédictine to sweeten and perfectly accent the floral notes of the Old Tom Gin, the Ford Cocktail is woody, herbal, and intriguing. Don't mess with the 1:1 (+3&3) ratio.
1 ounce Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 ounce Dry Vermouth (I used Dolin)
3 dashes Orange Bitters (Regan's)
3 dashes Bénédictine
Stir well with finely cracked ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.