How to Make a Tom Collins

How to Make a Tom Collins
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A classic since cocktails began, the Tom Collins has always been popular with its simple ingredients of gin, citrus, sugar and bubbles. Anyone can make this cocktail!

Tom Collins

Where was the Tom Collins born?

Who is Tom Collins and why does he have a cocktail named after him? Well, it all started with a bit of a practical joke. A friend of yours would walk into a bar, and you would ask them if they knew Tom Collins. He said no he didn’t know him.

You would tell him that he was badmouthing your friend at a the last bar and then your friend would run into the other bar looking for this Tom Collins. Of course, there would be no one there by that name! A bartender in New York felt sorry for all these chumps and offered them a cocktail or two. Thus, the Tom Collins cocktail was launched!

Another story is that, around the 1810’s, a John Collins, from Limmer’s Old House in London, became attached to the cocktail and it morphed into Tom. Or it could be because it was a cocktail made with Old Tom Gin.

We are sure that the man himself, the father of the bartending, “Professor” Jerry Thomas, the author of one of the first cocktail recipe books, included it in his Bon Vivant’s Companion, published in 1877!

What is the Tom Collins

A Collins cocktail (John, Tom, Whiskey, Rum) is originally Old Tom Gin, lemon and sugar, topped up with soda water and served in a Highball glass with ice. Still you can use any style gin you wish. A bit of shaking is required!

What is Old Tom Gin

Not to confuse you but in the olden days there was Holland Gin (unsweetened and more like gin today) and Old Tom Gin (sweetened)! As modern gin was inspired by the Dutch Genever, it because known as Holland Gin.

Old Tom Gin was the rage in 17th C Britain. Its name came from the wood signs attached to the outside wall of the gin joint usually shaped like a black cat, known as Old Tom. It’s become very trendy and you can find a number of Old Tom Gins on the market now!

How to make the Tom Collins

You need to start with the following ingredients to make the Gin Fizz:

  • Gin (I am using Porter’s Tropical Old Tom Gin)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sugar Syrup 
  • Soda water
  • Jigger
  • Lemon Squeezer
  • Shaker
  • Strainer
  • Highball Glass

Fresh ingredients are so important – so please, please, please use fresh lemon juice! I love this lemon squeezer which has holes on the bottom that fit right over the jigger, making it super easy to get the perfect amount of lime.

  • Squeeze about one lemon to make 1 oz (30ml) of Lemon Juice into a jigger and add to the shaker

I make my own sugar syrup. It takes about 2 minutes. Just measure out half of a cup (100ml) of white sugar into a pot and add the same amount of water. Heat until dissolved, let it cool, then pour into a glass container. It can keep in the fridge for months.

  • Add 1 oz (30ml) of sugar syrup to the shaker.

Always add in the spirit last. Just in case you made a mistake, you don’t want to waste any of that precious liquid. I always promote the use of the best spirits on the market. Don’t skimp! Invest in a good spirit and your cocktail will always be so much better.

Always add in the spirit last. Just in case you made a mistake, you don’t want to waste any of that precious liquid. I always promote the use of the best spirits on the market. Don’t skimp! Invest in a good spirit and your cocktail will always be so much better.

  • Finally add in 2 oz (50 or 60 ml) of gin!!

Next fill the shaker with ice. Make sure your ice is fresh, since it can absorb the odors in your freezer. You don’t want your cocktail tasting like your leftovers!

  • Now shake. shake, shake!
  • Strain it into a glass and top it up with soda water. 

Where to find Old Tom Gin

If you want to try another Gin cocktail, don’t miss:

Top Tip(ples): If you want to try another gin classic, don’t miss the Gin Fizz, the Gimlet, or the French 75!

PIN THIS TOM COLLINS RECIPE FOR LATER

Tom Collins - Pinterest 3

Here is the recipe!

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Old Tom Gin
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • Soda Water
  • Garnish: Lemon wedge and cherry

Instructions

  1. Put the gin, syrup and lemon juice into a shaker
  2. Add ice, then shake, shake, shake
  3. Strain into a Highball Glass with ice
  4. Top with Soda Water.
  5. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a cherry

Notes

For UK measurements, please use my handy Cocktail Measurements converter!

If you are in the USA, you can find a great selection of Gin at Drizly.

If you are in the UK, you can find a great selection of Gin at The Whisky Exchange.

Recommended Products

Disclaimer: Some of these posts contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you click on these links and buy something, but, don’t worry, it won’t cost you a dime! As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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