Tom Collins Cocktail

The Best Cocktails to order in a bar


  • 4,5 cl Gin
  • 1,5 cl Sugar syrup
  • 3 cl Fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cl Soda water

How to make it

  1. Pour all ingredients directly into a highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with lemon slice and a maraschino cherry.
  4. Add a dash of Angostura bitters.

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History of the cocktail

Tom Collins - there are a few different legends surrounding the name of this famous and classic cocktail. While many assume the drink was named after a real person, there is much debate whether there ever really was a Tom Collins and whether he lent to his name to this cocktail of gin, lemon and lime juice and soda water. One popular account says the cocktail was named after not a Tom, but a John Collins who was a headwaiter at a London Hotel in the early 19th century. The cocktail’s name was changed to a Tom Collins when Old Tom brand gin (a sweetened gin rarely used today) was substituted for the drier gin in the original recipe.

Another story, which is the most probable of the various legends, involves a hoax that took over New York City in 1874. The prank went something like this: A friend would run into you on the street and, with great concern, tell you he just overheard someone named Tom Collins at a bar down the street saying hateful and libellous things about you. You race to that bar to confront the bounder, where you would be told that Tom Collins had just left for a bar several blocks away. When you get there, Collins would already have decamped for another joint across town. As you chase all over the city, your friends convulse with laughter.

The prank gained such notoriety, that even local newspapers started reporting the hoax. In 1874, the Steubenville Daily Herald reported that the hoax caused “frantic young men to rush wildly through the streets of the city on Saturday hunting for the libellous Tom Collins.” These young men were often directed to find legendary Tom Collins at a local bar.

So how did the hoax turn into the name of a drink? According to Wall Street Journal columnist and cocktail historian Eric Felten, “It doesn’t take much to imagine how Tom Collins came to be a drink. How many times does someone have to barge into a saloon demanding a Tom Collins before the bartender takes the opportunity to offer him a cocktail so-named?”

In any event, this popular cocktail has become a fixture in cocktail culture, inspiring the name of a glass (a Collins glass) as well as a pre-mixed and popular Collins Mix.

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