Meet Tom Collins. And John Collins, Pedro Collins, Pierre Collins..
A tall and refreshing variation on the gin sour, topped with soda
Originally created with Bols Genever
The easy sipping cocktail for any occasion
The Tom Collins is a classic cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and topped with club soda. The first recipe used genever instead of gin and was created by a bartender named John Collins, giving his name to the cocktail. It is a beautifully balanced, refreshing drink which lends itself perfectly to give your own personal twist.
How to make a Tom Collins?
The classic Collins recipe uses genever as its base spirit, but the Tom Collins is traditionally made with gin. We use Damrak Gin in this recipe, which is an exceptionally smooth gin with pronounced citrus flavour. Top quality Valencia and Curaçao oranges are used for their gentle sweetness. Lemon peels provide balance and freshness.
Tom Collins ingredients
60 ml Damrak Gin
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml simple syrup
Top up with club soda
Tom Collins glassware and tools
Pour all ingredients except the club soda in the cocktail shaker
Fill the shaker two thirds with ice cubes
Shake for around 10 seconds and strain into the Collins glass filled with ice cubes
Top up with club soda
Garnish with a lemon wedge
A true crowd-pleaser...
The Tom Collins is a true crowd-pleaser. With its brilliant simplicity, refreshing citrus notes and a little kick of gin you can't go wrong. This cocktail can be enjoyed at any occasion, with friends on a sunny terrace or to start your night at your favourite cocktail bar. The basic DNA of this cocktail also makes it very easy to make a variation on the recipe; simply swap the gin for your favourite base spirit and the options are endless!
History of the Tom Collins
The birth of this cocktail is credited to John Collins, a bartender working at the Limmer's Hotel in London in the early 19th century. The recipe is probably a variation on the then-popular Gin Punch, which omits the club soda but adds a dash of Angostura bitters. The cocktail was given the name of its inventor, John Collins. As the cocktail grew in popularity it was often made using Old Tom gin instead of the genever John Collins used. Old Tom gin is a sweetened style of gin which eventually gave this cocktail its new name: the Tom Collins. Today, when referring to a Tom Collins, you'd expect the base spirit to be a London Dry style gin, whereas the Original (or Dutch) Collins would be with a genever like Bols Genever.
This cocktail even gave the type of glass in which it was served its name: the Collins glass
Collins glasses are tall and round and usually have a capacity of around 12-16 ounces (355-474 ml)
The best Collins recipe variations
Recipe variation 1 - Change the base spirit
As mentioned before, the Original Collins recipe was originally made with genever. The Tom Collins is the same recipe, just changing the base spirit into (London Dry or Old Tom) gin. But the fun doesn't stop there! Why not change the base spirit for light rum for a Pedro Collins? Or a Pierre Collins, where you change the base spirit into cognac or brandy.
Recipe variation 2 - Change the sweetener
The classic Tom Collins uses simple syrup as a sweetener but why not substitute this for a liqueur? Bols Elderflower gives a fantastic floral sweetness to this cocktail which matches beautifully with both gin and genever. Bols Dry Orange is another great example where the robust and complex flavours of orange go perfectly with genever as well as gin.
Recipe variation 3 - Change the soda
In our classic recipe, club soda is used. But to add some extra depth of flavour you can substitute this for any other sparkling soda. I love the combination of Bols Genever, Bols Dry Orange, lemon juice, topped with ginger beer. With the amazing selection of craft sodas available today, you'll be spoiled for choice!