The Tom Collins is the classic gin-based sour. It follows the traditional formula of 2oz base spirit, 3/4oz sour and 3/4oz sweet, topped off with a bit of club soda for some fizz. The best thing about a Tom Collins is that it’s not only tasty and refreshing in its own right, but one might consider it the blank canvas of cocktails – it’s very easy to create variations to suit your tastes and impress your guests.
To make the basic Tom Collins, here’s what you’re going to need:
2oz gin (I like to use a particularly high quality gin here, like Plymouth, since it’s the main flavor)
3/4oz fresh lemon juice
3/4oz simple syrup
A cherry and lemon or orange slice to garnish
At this point, you could easily be done. With absolutely no modification, this is one of my favorite cocktails (as long as quality gin is used). But there’s so much more you could do.
- In place of gin, you could use bourbon, in which case this would be a John Collins.
- If you were to serve this in a highball glass with no garnish, it would be a Fizz.
- You can easily add any fruit of your choice. Berries (blackberries, raspberries, etc.) tend to work best. For example, to make a Blackberry Tom Collins, combine 2-3 blackberries with my simple syrup, and muddle them well. Then just add the lemon juice, gin and ice, and continue per the method above. As an added touch, consider using your fruit of choice as your garnish.
So much better than the over-consumed gin & tonic, the Tom Collins is the perfect primer for the new gin drinker. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!