The original Tom Collins was created in London by a gentleman named John Collins, who of course gave the drink his name. The “Tom” comes from its main ingredient, Tom Gin, which in the 19th century was an alternative to London Dry Gin. John Collins was looking for a slightly sweeter alternative to his original gin cocktail (named entirely after himself – a John Collins) and came up with what would ultimately become one of the most popular gin drinks in the United States. Today, syrup or a little sugar add the sweetness originally provided by the Tom Gin.
The American Jerry Thomas deserves credit for the first written account of the Tom Collins. Most likely, he found the recipe during his extensive travels throughout Europe and brought it back to the States. However, the breakthrough for the cocktail on the American continent came when all the soldiers returned home from the battlefields of World War 1.
The Tom Collins:
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 0.5 ounce simple syrup
- 3 ounces chilled club soda
- Lemon slice and maraschino cherry
Fill a Collins glass with ice and pour gin, lemon juice, and syrup over ice. Top off with club soda and stir gently. Use lemon and cherry for garnish.
A Tex Collins is made with grapefruit juice and honey instead of simple syrup. Pour gin and one tablespoon of honey over ice, leave out the lemon juice. Top off with grapefruit juice. Stir gently and enjoy.
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