With an origin story that’s almost as good as its taste, the Tom Collins cocktail is a truly fascinating one. Tangy and full of life, this old recipe is one that’s stood the test of time. Every bartender knows how to make one, and every cocktail connoisseur is well acquainted with its fresh flavour. If you want to join their ranks and get to know the Tom Collins, we’ve got everything you need to know right here.
A Tom Collins is a gin-based cocktail, so it’s perfectly on trend at the moment. It’s a simple, light recipe that’s perfect for drinking on a summer’s day and leaves a sweet yet slightly bitter taste on the tongue. Thanks to the gin, this drink is grounded in a bouquet of botanicals and will leave any palette quenched.
The ingredients for a Tom Collins are fairly straightforward. All you’ll need is the following:
- 50ml gin
- 25ml lemon juice
- 25ml sugar syrup
- 125ml soda water
We recommend the fantastic Hernö Old Tom Gin, brewed in the historic style of gins of the Tom Collins era for an authentic flavour. It’s a bitter-sweet spirit of undeniable quality, making it the top choice for your gin-based cocktail. Pair with a 1920s Cocktail Glass to really embrace the old-school feel of this drink.
You can then create your cocktail following two different methods. The first simply adds all the ingredients together in a mixing glass, stirring over ice for a chilled finish before straining into a glass. The second method involves building a base first using gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup. Once these ingredients are mixed, add soda water to taste and garnish as you wish.
The history of the Tom Collins is much disputed, and no one really knows the truth - well, no one living! The first written mention of a Tom Collins was in The Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas, published in 1876. However, some say that the drink dates all the way back to the 1860s - or even further back - and was created by John, the head waiter at Limmer’s Old House in Mayfair.
Others believe the cocktail originated from an 1874 New York trend. The story goes that people would convince others that a man known as Tom Collins was talking badly about them and encourage the individual to go and confront him. When they turned up at the bar asking for Tom Collins, they received only confused looks as the man didn’t exist! Hoards of people were playing this game, and the fact that just two years later the Tom Collins cocktail is first written about seems like no coincidence.
Although it had gained popularity prior to the roaring twenties, it was in this decade that the Tom Collins really made its mark. Loved by Flapper girls and suited and booted gentlemen alike, the cocktail has become synonymous with the period. Relive the golden age of the ‘20s with this lively cocktail!
At UrbanBar, we take cocktail-making seriously. That’s why all of our barware, spirits, and accessories are made to the highest standard and always the best in the business. To create a perfect Tom Collins every time, be sure to take a look at our Cocktail Collections today!