The Tom Collins drink is a classic, especially in the United States. It's easy and simple to prepare, and there are numerous ways to serve it. The best part? When you're searching for something to drink on a hot day, this one's truly refreshing and quenches your thirst.
Worry no more! We prepared this post to wipe that confusion away, so you can enjoy this classic drink worry-free.
What’s in a Tom Collins? Tom Collins is a gin-based beverage that has been around for about two centuries. Although it's easy to create, this cocktail is one of the best around. People sometimes get confused about what Gin to use in a Tom Collins, or how much gin to use when preparing their own drink.
It’s actually a very simple drink: Gin, syrup, lemon juice and soda water. However, there are some things that you should know when looking at the recipe if you really want to be a bartender extraordinaire or if you just want to impress your friends. You need a GOOD gin. You want something that’s smooth, maybe a little citrusy, nothing too juniper-forward.
You want it to go down easy and not overpower the refreshing, tangy flavors. See below for some of the best gins for Tom Collins (all available at The Bottle Haus of course).
Known for its classic taste, Tanqueray London Dry Gin offers a uniquely balanced gin experience. This London dry has edge and sophistication and is perfect as the base of your Tom Collins cocktail. The iconic bottle design is a contemporary update of the original design, which in turn was inspired by the shape of a classic cocktail shaker.
Distilled in small batches and made using the highest quality ingredients, Tanqueray London Dry Gin is the perfect balance of strength and smoothness. This London Dry Gin is centered on four key botanicals - juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice. Each batch is made using a process perfected by Charles Tanqueray in 1830 and the same ever since. It's this attention to detail that makes Tanqueray London Dry Gin a favorite among bartenders and mixologists across the globe.
Beefeater London Dry Gin
A favorite of bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike, Beefeater London Dry Gin is one of the most awarded London Dry gins in the world. It makes an ideal gin for classic cocktails like the Tom Collins, a Martini or Gimlet, or as a base for flavorful gin and tonics.
Their proprietary recipe uses 9 all-natural botanicals that, in addition to juniper, include orange, lemon peel, angelica seeds, almonds, orris root and coriander. The botanicals are steeped for 24 hours before distillation. The result is a delicious London Dry with a citrusy burst on the nose followed by the classic aromas of juniper that will be perfect in your Tom Collins.
This is the go-to choice behind many bars around the world because it's incredibly aromatic and flavorful enough to drink straight yet versatile enough to use in your favorite cocktails.
Bombay Dry Gin
Bombay’s “dry,” clean finish is indeed one of its strongest appeals, along with notes of lemon zest and delicate juniper. The exotic flavors of cassia bark, angelica root, coriander seeds, juniper berries, licorice, orris root, lemon peel, and almonds are exquisitely blended and balanced in a seamless fashion These lively flavors dance on the palate while they waltz through the vapor infusion process with hands held high in the air (so to speak.)
Bombay's unique combination of aromatic ingredients wrapped in a silky smooth sensation is guaranteed to infuse your soul.
It’s refreshing by itself but even more so in your Tom Collins.
Plymouth Original Gin
Anyone who enjoys gin and tonics will find this gin is perfect because of its softer and richer flavors. Plymouth Original Gin is a deliciously intense aroma which defines the definitive taste of the classic tipple. If you want to make a fantastic Tom Collins that's a bit earthy, sweet and still citrusy, Plymouth is perfect.
At first, the bitter pine and fresh juniper open on the nose followed by coriander and cardamom. The palate follows with pleasant sweetness with citrus notes. This gin has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel with quite a long finish and many fresh, lingering flavors from the whole palate! Its precise ratios are a secret, but there's a distinct earthiness, sweetness and citrus that take the limelight here, making the spirit quite different from its London Dry cousins.
Making the Perfect Tom Collins
The Tom Collins is a popular drink for many reasons, and one of them is its simplicity. You don’t need anything too expensive or difficult to find, and the basic recipe works well with almost any gin. But to stay true to the original Tom Collins, a sweet and subtle gin is best.
The ideal gin should have some juniper backbone, but also have some citrus notes. This lets you create a bright and refreshing drink that isn’t too strong. The ones mentioned above are a great place to start, but once you’re familiar with the drink you can start playing around with different flavors of gin.
This recipe is deceptively simple: gin, club soda, lemon juice and sugar. There’s no other cocktail that’s easier to make while still tasting this good.
Ingredients for a classic Tom Collins:
- 2 ounces of your gin of choice
- 1 ounce of simple syrup
- ¾ ounce of lemon juice
- Club soda
To make a Tom Collins, combine the gin, syrup, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain it into a tall glass filled with ice and top with club soda. The amount of club soda is up to you. Using more or less will determine both the strength of the drink and the intensity of the flavor. We like to use a ratio of 2 parts gin to 1 part syrup to 1 part lemon juice, and then top it off with about 1/4 as much club soda.
Origin of the Tom Collins
Although there are many stories about the origins of the Tom Collins cocktail, no one really knows who invented it. The most common tale involves John Collins, the headwaiter at Limmer's Old House in London during the early 19th century. According to this story, Collins began making his signature gin punch for patrons sometime around 1820. The drink was so successful that others soon began mixing their own versions and adding it to bar menus across Europe.
At some point after this, a man named John Locke added soda water and ice to his version of the Collins drink and renamed it Locke's Gin Punch, which provided inspiration for Jerry Thomas' recipe for John Collins' Punch in 'The Bartender's Guide,' published in 1862.
Then, a bartender at The El Paso Bar in New York City renamed the drink Tom Collins in honor of a regular patron who had been prank calling bars and asking about a man named Tom Collins. This prank became so popular that an entire fad was created around it during the mid-1800s.
Invented around the same time as the Martini, the Tom Collins is a classic cocktail that deserves more attention. A combination of gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and club soda, it's a great drink to have on hand when you want something with a little tartness, but not too much sweetness.
The Tom Collins is an excellent drink for summer because it's light and refreshing but also packs enough punch to get the party started. This drink has the ability to go perfectly with any meal or serve as a light summer refresher.
If you love gin cocktails, the Tom Collins is a must try. It's definitely up there with the Gimlet, Martini, Aviation and Negroni.