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Make a Classic Tom Collins Cocktail in 4 Easy Steps

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Get ready to impress your guests with this delicious drink: The Tom Collins, a classic cocktail that dates back to the late 1800s. It’s a gin sour, a sweet and sour mix of gin and lemon juice. To make it, combine equal parts gin and club soda in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled, then strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Choose your favorite garnish and enjoy!

There’s a good reason this drink has elevated to the fame it has today (and I'm not talking about the joke that truly made it stand out): Hint. It's a refreshing taste that you want on a very hot day or whenever you need to take the edge off. This cocktail deserves to be on your to-drink list if you have not tried it already. If you have, introduce it to a friend and watch their reaction. A taste test is always a perfect bonding opportunity.

What is a Tom Collins Cocktail?

A delectable style of the cocktail is added to a Collins glass to create the ultimate Collins beverage: the Tom Collins. A Tom Collins is a refreshing gin sour that is topped off with soda water. What's the difference between a Tom Collins and a John Collins? Tom is made with Gin and John is made with Bourbon. This drink has your name all over it if you want a slight sizzle with a sweet and sour flavor. Interestingly enough, this beverage did not get its name in the same way. I'll clarify what I mean below if you're intrigued and want to know some cocktail history.

How did “Tom Collins” get its name?

Jerry Thomas contained the earliest known recipe for a Tom Collins Cocktail. “A Perfect Day” was published in 1876 for The Bartenders Guide. Mr.Thomas was careful to emphasize that the beverage was best enjoyed on a warm day. Yes, we can all agree he was correct. Let's go back in time to the early 1900s, when this beverage's enduring name was given. Why is it called Tom Collins?

The simplest question led to the silliest hoax of 1874. “Have you seen Tom Collins?” Supposedly, the person listening would respond to obvious nonsense that the hoaxer purposefully presents as fact. Talk about a skillful instigator if you ask me! We all know a few instigators, don’t we? There’s no denying how convincing they can be.

The speaker is supposed to push the listener to make dumb decisions. The speaker specifically hoped that the listener would become upset at the thought of someone talking about them to others and run off to find the seemingly nearby Tom Collins.

How did the name of this drink come to be a part of the joke? Simply put, wherever the incitement led, people would actively look for Tom Collins. The neighborhood bar was one of the popular notions among the hoaxers.

According to a supposed legend, a bartender changed the name of this traditional concoction into the "Tom Collins" we know today for the benefit of their establishments. Unaware of it, people were ordering the Tom Collins cocktail.

Picture this, an impassioned person walking into their nearest bar ready to ask the most sought question. “Have you seen Tom Collins?!” The mixologist, already aware of the tale and ready to deceive, answers “Oh, he”s here”! Riled up victim says “let me have em!” very angrily. Swiftly, the victim now has a cocktail in their tab. Unbeknownst, might’ve been the greatest drink marketing of all time. You didn’t hear this from us but its possible to use this strategy for future reference, who knows. Wink Wink.

In this century, we might as well cue Rick Astley on a playlist. We’d play the song “Never Gonna Give You Up” and then consider you “Rick Rolled”. This is one of our famous jokes from the twenty-first century to which most of us can relate. Not the best antic but certainly will become vintage like any other idea. We’re not trying to outdo anyone here. Unless… never mind. We’ll leave the Tom Collins anecdote to outlive us. We love the drink but we got to love its roots.

What are the Tom Collins Ingredients?

You will need:

  1. Gin of choice

  2. Simple Syrup (Sweetener)

  3. Lemon Juice as your citrus

  4. Ice

  5. Club Soda of choice

  6. For extra boldness add a fun and easy cocktail garnish or two!

Have fun with the extra lemon you have on hand. Try the Lemon Twist garnish trick. Let’s assume you don’t know what to garnish your cocktail with or maybe you just need a few new ideas. Leave that worry to us! What you need here is 7 Easy Cocktail Garnish Ideas that elevate your favorite drinks”

It is recommended that you know these tips down below. Trust me when I say they come in handy when you most need them.

Always choose fresh fruit ingredients for the best results. By doing this, you can be sure that your drink will be of the highest caliber and be easily recognized. Additionally, keeping your drinks ice cold will guarantee that the flavor stays nuanced and tasty.

Ready to Make a Tom Collins Cocktail? Let’s prepare this classic!

  • Step 1: Take your ice-cold glass or your shaker and start by adding 2 ounces of your Gin of choice.

  • Step 2: Add (¾ oz) simple Syrup Sweetener and your Lemon Juice as your citrus (¾ oz)

This allows the sweet and sour flavors to dance and balance each other to avoid shocking your taste palette.

  • Step 3: Include your ice. Shake your ingredients until well blended (no need to shake if you’re not using a shaker).

  • Step 4: Lastly, strain into your Collins glassware and integrate your favorite Club Soda and finish off strong with an edible garnish of choice.

And there you go, you’re all done! Enjoy the sweet and sour sizzle of the night. Let the flavors be absorbed by those taste buds thoroughly. Cheers! To the drink, you won’t forget.

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