Cocktail of the week: Tom Collins

We check in with our Cocktail of the Week with a classic, Tom Collins.

downloadLike most cocktails, the Tom Collins is a bit of an enigma in regards to origin.

Its namesake, a hoax that was going around New York in 1874, the Tom Collins has immortalized itself into one of the most iconic gin cocktails around. London lays its claim to this drink that originated in the early 1800s, when it was allegedly first served at the coffeehouse bar at the Limmer’s Hotel.

An abridged, inebriated history of the Tom Collins:

The first recorded Tom Collins recipe is from the second edition of Jerry Thomas’ book, “The Bartender’s Guide”, published in 1876, in which the Tom Collins is a class of drink, with the type of alcoholic spirit being used specified after the name Tom Collins (e.g. “-brandy”,”-gin”). It was others, who came after Thomas, “the father of American mixology,” who changed the Tom Collins from its three main variations into a purely gin drink.

The story of the hoax goes something like… Tom Collins was a loud and boisterous man who was known to sit in taverns and talk harshly of nearly everyone he’d met, or in many cases, those he hadn’t. Fortunately for those who fell victim to Collins’ wrath, they had good friends who would immediately find their friend and let them know of all the profanity directed towards them. The victim was then encouraged to find Collins and confront him. However, when the victim went to the tavern where Collins was meant to be, he was nowhere to be found (because Tom Collins did not exist). It was then that those desperately looking for their revenge would ask at the bar for Tom Collins, and instead receive the sour cocktail.

Glass: Highball


  • 2 fl oz gin
  • 1 fl oz lemon juice
  • 4 tsp sugar syrup
  • sparkling water to top
  • ice cubes
  • slice of lemon

Instructions: Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a highball over fresh ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a lemon or orange slice.

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