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Old Fashioned Cocktails- Tom Collins

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Old Fashioned Cocktails- Tom Collins:

When was the Tom Collins Invented?

The Tom Collins is a classic cocktail that is said to have been first created in the 19th century. The exact origin of the cocktail is uncertain, but it is believed to have been named after a practical joke that was popular in the 19th century, in which someone would go up to a friend and ask if they had seen a man named Tom Collins. The person being asked would inevitably reply that they had not seen him, at which point the joker would say that Tom Collins had been spreading false rumors about the person and was talking about them behind their back. This would cause the person to become angry and start looking for Tom Collins, who of course did not actually exist.

This cocktail is believed to have been created as a response to this practical joke, as a way of making light of the situation. The cocktail consists of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water, and is typically served in a tall glass over ice. It is a refreshing and easy-to-drink cocktail that has remained popular for over a century.

What You Need:

  • gin
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • simple syrup (or sugar syrup)
  • carbonated water
  • Ice
  • Lemon slice or cherry for garnish (optional)

How to Make a Tom Collins

  • Fill your glass with ice to chill it while you prepare the cocktail.
  • In a cocktail shaker, add the gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  • Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain the cocktail mixture into your chilled glass.
  • Add the carbonated water to the glass, stirring gently with a bar spoon.
  • Garnish with a lemon slice or cherry, if desired.

Tip For Making it?

  • Use fresh ingredients. The key to a great Tom Collins is using freshly squeezed lemon juice and high-quality gin. The lemon juice provides a bright and tangy flavor that balances the sweetness of the simple syrup, while the gin contributes the botanical notes and complexity that make this cocktail so delicious. When selecting gin for your Tom Collins, look for a brand that you enjoy drinking straight, as the flavor will be more pronounced in the cocktail.
  • For the best results, chill your glass in the freezer before making the cocktail to keep it cold and refreshing.
  • Finally, use a long spoon or straw to stir the carbonated water into the cocktail gently, to avoid overmixing and losing the carbonation. With these tips, you’ll be able to make a delicious and refreshing Tom Collins every time!

Frequently asked questions

What kind of gin should I use for it?

The type of gin you use for it, will affect the flavor of the cocktail. Look for a high-quality gin that you enjoy drinking straight, as the flavor will be more pronounced in the cocktail. London Dry gin is a traditional choice for this cocktail, but you can also experiment with different types of gin to find the perfect flavor.

What is the difference between a Tom Collins and a Gin Fizz?

A Tom Collins and a Gin Fizz are both classic cocktails that are made with gin, lemon juice, and carbonated water. However, the main difference between the two cocktails is the sweetener used. A Tom Collins is typically made with simple syrup, while a Gin Fizz is made with sugar or powdered sugar. The sugar in a Gin Fizz creates a slightly creamier texture and a sweeter flavor than a Tom Collins.

Can I use a different citrus juice in it?

While lemon juice is the traditional citrus juice used in it, you can experiment with other citrus juices to create a unique variation on the cocktail. Lime juice, grapefruit juice, or orange juice can all be used in place of the lemon juice. Keep in mind that using a different citrus juice may affect the overall flavor of the cocktail and require some adjustment to the amount of sweetener used.

How do I make this cocktail without a shaker?

If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can still make a delicious Tom Collins by stirring the ingredients together in a tall glass. Simply add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the glass, fill the glass with ice, and stir the mixture together. Add the carbonated water and stir gently to mix. You may not get the same frothy texture as you would with a shaker, but the cocktail will still be delicious.

Old Fashioned Cocktails- Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 3 minutes

Tom Collins, the first written record of the huge Collins family, is the famous "The Bartender's Guide" published by cocktail master Jerry Thomas in 1876, which is also the first cocktail recipe manual in American history.


  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 oz gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz club soda
  • 1 lemon wedge


Fill a Collins glass with ice cubes and set aside.Mix gin in a cocktail shaker, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add ice, cover and shake until chilled. Strain the water from the Collin glass and pour the shaken liquor in. Top with club soda and garnish with lemon corners.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Robin Lee

Robin is author, photographer, and cocktail enthusiast. He has a passion for life, love of mixology, and enjoys exploring the great outdoors. Robin’s cocktails are both visually stunning and bursting with flavor. He’s always pushing the boundaries of mixology and loves to experiment with unique ingredients and techniques. With Robin’s guidance, you can learn the art of mixology and create cocktails that are sure to impress.

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