- Food: Tom Collins Cocktail
- Writer: Nicolas Wilson
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Are you familiar with Tom Collins? What about the cocktail? You’ve been missing out if you haven’t already.
When I worked as a bartender, I used to offer Tom Collins, and I believe this traditional cocktail deserves greater attention.
Tom Collins cocktails have the flavor of adult lemonade. With herbaceous undertones from the gin, they’re seductively zesty, effervescent, and refreshing. While lemonade can be overly sugary, Tom Collins doesn’t have to be. I like mine with a dash of simple syrup to balance out the flavors.
You’ll love a Tom Collins if you like a cold French 75 or a Bee’s Knees. They all have a flavor profile that is comparable.
Because they’re served over ice and packed with hydrating club soda, Tom Collins is ideal for hot summer afternoons. A Tom Collins will always win out over a gin and tonic in my book.
To prepare a Tom Collins from home, you’ll need a cocktail shaker, enough of ice, and a few basic components (gin, lemons, club soda, and sugar or honey). If you really want to go all out, add a beautiful cocktail cherry. Cheers!
Variations on Tom Collins
Continue reading for a traditional Tom Collins recipe, or try one of these entertaining variants!
- Honey-Sweetened Tom Collins: This is my favorite variety, which you can see in these photographs. To produce your simple syrup, simply replace the sugar with honey. Honey’s flowery aromas complement gin’s botanical overtones well.
- Herb-Infused Tom Collins: Before cooking, add sprigs of fresh lavender, thyme, or rosemary to your simple syrup saucepan. Leave them in there until the simple syrup has cooled for the best flavor. Alternatively, add a sprig of fresh mint or basil to your drink as a garnish.
- Elderflower Tom Collins: To taste, replace some or all of the simple syrup with St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur).
- Cucumber Tom Collins: Use Hendrick’s gin, which has cucumber and rose overtones in it. In a cocktail shaker, combine several slices of fresh cucumber and shake vigorously before filtering.
- Champagne Extra-Strong Collins, Tom: Replace some or all of the club soda with brut Champagne, Prosecco, or Cava. Be careful, this one has a lot of power!
- Collins with Bourbon or Vodka: When the weather becomes cooler, switch to bourbon or vodka if you don’t like gin. At this point, I don’t think we can call them Tom Collins, but you know what? It’s excellent enough if it’s tasty.
Taste and adjust as needed.
A Google search will turn up slightly different ratios of the same fundamental ingredients, but I believe this recipe makes the perfect Tom Collins. As a result, modify it to your personal preferences.
As written, this drink is lightly sweet; add more simple syrup to mellow the flavors, or less if you prefer sour drinks. For extra additional zing, add more citrus. Simply use less gin for a less alcoholic and more hydrating drink.
Tom Collins Cocktail
|Time to Prepare: 10 minutes
10 minutes in total
The finest Tom Collins recipe ever! Gin, lemon, club soda, and simple syrup are used to make Tom Collins cocktails. They’re effervescent, delicious, and refreshing in equal measure.
This recipe makes one cocktail, so double or triple it as needed (you can mix several at once in a cocktail shaker).
- 2 ounces gin
- 1-ounce lemon juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup, recipe below
- Club soda or sparkling water (I like Topo Chico)
- 1 lemon round or ½ orange round, for garnish
- 1 Luxardo cherry or another cocktail cherry, for garnish
- Simple syrup (yields enough for 6 to 8 cocktails, scale as necessary)
- ¼ cup sugar (traditional) or honey (my favorite)
- ¼ cup water
- To produce the simple syrup, follow these steps: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar (or honey) and water.
- Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sweetener has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside to cool.
- To make a cocktail, combine the following ingredients in a mixing glass. Ice should be added to a cocktail shaker. Combine the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Shake for 20 to 30 seconds, or until the shaker’s outside is completely cold.
- Ice should be added to a Collins (tall) glass. Fill the glass halfway with the contents of the shaker. Pour the rest of the club soda into the glass and stir gently with a spoon.
- Serve with a cocktail cherry and a lemon or orange round (or 12 of an orange round). Enjoy.
- GIN SUGGESTIONS: The typical choice is Old Tom Gin. Any gin that you like will work, as long as it isn’t very juniper. I chose Rieger’s Midwestern Dry Gin, which is brewed in Kansas City and has a lovely, balanced flavor profile. If you’re not a big fan of gin, try Hendrick’s, which has a more subtle flavor and is blended with cucumber and rose.
- MEASUREMENT ADVICE: For measuring small amounts of liquids, I recommend this measuring jigger (affiliate link). Alternatively, you can use measuring cups and spoons. Two ounces equals a quarter cup, one ounce equals two tablespoons, and one ounce equals one tablespoon.
- MAKE IT EASY: Although the cocktail shaker approach produces the best flavor, you may omit it and mix these drinks in ice-filled glasses instead (stir together the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, then add the club soda and gently stir to combine). The initial few tastes will be stronger, then mellow as the ice melts.