Forget that old expression–was it Hemingway's?–about water being "gin-clear."

If your water looked like this gin, you'd think you were living in West Virginia

But Ransom Old Tom Gin mixed with Ransom Vermouth makes the oiliest, most delicious martini I've had. Both are new in town and made by a small producer in Oregon. Old Tom is a distiller's reproduction of the kind of gin in vogue in the 1850s–it's made on a malted barley base with a lot of botanicals–like juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seed, cardamom pods, and angelica root. Then the stuff is aged extravagantly in French oak barrels for six months. Ridiculous or sublime? 

Here's how to decide:

Chill your glass, by putting in the fridge or freezer or just putting some ice cubes in it for a few minutes. Put two shots of gin and 1/2 shot of vermouth in your cocktail shaker with LOTS of ice. Shake it until your arm is tired or you lose patience. The outside of your shaker should be frosty and it may be hard to pull the cap off (slightly frozen). 

Dump the ice out of the glass and strain the martini into it. There should be a thin scum of ice on top of the drink if you've shaken it enough.

If not, drink it down and make another. 

Hemingway was a Gordon's man, but I can't imagine him having any problems with Ransom.