Best Tom Collins Recipe

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Best Tom Collins Recipe

The Best Tom Collins Recipe in the World

This timeless gin cocktail is an exercise in sophistication and refreshment. Nothing conjures nostalgia quite like a Tom Collins. It evokes the swinging 60s, complete with smoky bars and jazzy Manhattan nights. The combination of gin, lemon, sugar and soda is experiencing a revival of late, with the popularity of retro-classic TV shows like Mad Men. It’s related to the equally enlivening Gin Fizz and Gin Rickey.


History tells us as that the Tom Collins was the brainchild of Jerry Thomas, the American father of mixology. It first arose in New York in 1876. A humorous twist of fate gave rise to the cocktail’s catchy name. Two years prior, in 1874, New York was in the grip of what came to be known as The Great Tom Collins Hoax.

It was a “craze” or sorts; a prank that became widespread on the streets of New York and Pennsylvania. Pranksters would ask “Have you seen Tom Collins?” to an unwitting friend. The prank victim was then told that someone named Tom Collins (a fake character) was spreading rumours about him/her. The aim of the prank was to agitate the victim, and make them angrily storm off in search of this “Tom Collins” to set the record straight. Both the hoax, and the drink, because united under one name in 1876.


As the drink spread throughout the world, many variations of the original recipe popped up. These days, a Tom Collins is commonly mixed as crisp, dry gin, with club soda and lemon juice. It’s very easy to make. These are the ingredients:

60ml of London dry gin

1 teaspoon of super-fine white sugar

30ml of lemon juice

Soda water

Throw all of the ingredients into a tall Collins glass, which should be ¾ full with cracked ice. Stir all of the ingredients vigorously, and top off with soda water. Garnish the drink with a luscious maraschino cherry, and a lemon slice.

Tom Collins’ cousins, the Gin Fizz and the Gin Rickey, are made up of similar ingredients. A Gin Fizz, for instance, requires all of the ingredients, bar the soda water, to be shaken in a mixer. They are then combined in a Collins glass with some soda water, without the ice. A Gin Rickey, on the other hand, is a more colourful variation through the substitution of grenadine syrup for sugar. The juice of half a lime is also added to the mix, and everything is poured into a chilled highball glass.


There is a Collins for every occasion. Intrepid bartenders have brought their skills to the mix in adding new members to the Collins family – with humorous results! Substitute gin for whiskey in the aptly-named John Collins (named after Johnny Walker). Give the original recipe some tropical flair with a Charlie Collins, substituting Jamaican rum for gin, with dashes of Angostura bitters and lime juice. Fancy a trip to Mexico? Say hello to Juan Collins, made with the exciting alternative of tequila.

Ireland is famous for the Michael Collins, freedom-fighter and Irish whiskey variation. Jock Collins is its Scottish sibling, consisting of Scotch for gin. Why not try Comrade Collins with vodka, or better yet, a Denzel Collins substituting soda water for Pepsi? Nothing can beat a Phil Collins, however, using Pisco instead of gin. Chileans affectionately named this particular drink after the famous British musician.