The drink that eventually took on the name Tom Collins was a simple mix of gin, lemon, sugar and sparkling water. But where did this concoction originate?
The answer is actually England, where a drink called a “John Collins” was popularized in the early 1800s. Made with whiskey instead of gin, this drink was also mixed with lemon and sugar, but club soda was used as the mixer rather than sparkling water.
A Collins is a type of cocktail that has always been popular and will never go out of style. It is made with gin, whiskey, vodka or rum and mixed with lemon juice, sugar and club soda or sparkling water. There are many variations of the Collins, some of which include bitters or other liqueurs. The drink is tall and served in a Collins glass, which is stemmed and has a round bowl with straight sides that taper to a narrower rim.
The Tom Collins is one of the more popular types of this cocktail, as it was named after its creator: Thomas Lincoln "Tom" Collins. It's believed that he was an Englishman who was living in New York at the time he invented this refreshing beverage. The original recipe included sugar, lemon juice and water; however, when club soda became available later on, it replaced the water and became part of the recipe we know today.
A Tom Collins is made with gin, club soda (or sparkling water), lemon juice and sugar. It can be garnished with lime or lemon wedges if desired. One thing to note about this cocktail is that it isn't shaken like many other cocktails are mixed—it's stirred instead to ensure that all ingredients mix well without being over-shaken (which would cause too much dilution).
1 oz. gin
1 oz. club soda (or sparkling water)
Juice from half a lemon
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, then stir until well mixed. Strain the drink and serve in a tall Collins glass with ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime if desired.
What is the difference between a Collins and a Cocktail?
Simply put, cocktails generally have more ingredients than just spirits and mixers, whereas Collinses are light on the mixers and heavy on the alcohol content. Most cocktails contain some type of liqueur or syrup whereas this doesn't usually apply to Collinses; they're simply concoctions made with spirits, juice/syrup/water, bitters and sometimes egg whites as well (to make it frothier).