Spotlight on…Tom Collins

The Tom Collins is a classic cocktail with a debated history. For a detailed look at the background, take a look at Difford’s Guide.

A recipe for a John Collins is featured in the Steward and Barkeeper’s Manual of 1869:

  • Teaspoonful of powdered sugar
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • A wine glass of Old Tom Gin
  • A bottle of plain soda
  • Shake up, or stir up with ice
  • Add a slice of lemon peel to finish

The specific call for Old Tom gin in this recipe is a likely cause for the subsequent name change to Tom Collins in Jerry Thomas’s 1876 recipe. Earlier versions of the gin punch are likely to have used Holland’s Gin instead.

Whatever the history, the classic combination of gin, sweetened lemon and fizz is still very popular today.

This week I wanted to look at a couple of fruity version of a classic Collins, especially as the weather is improving and the summer fruits are starting to become available! Although a classic Tom Collins uses gin, vodka based Collins drinks are also common now, so I have tried one of each.

Raspberry Tom Collins

Raspberry Gin Collins

  • 40ml Tanqueray Gin
  • 30ml Lemon Juice
  • 8 Fresh Raspberries (2 for garnish)
  • Soda/Lemonade/Sprite

Take a Collins glass, muddle 6 fresh raspberries in the bottom (if you don’t have a muddler, just crush with the back of a spoon). Fill glass with ice, then add gin and lemon juice. Stir with a bar spoon, then top up with soda or lemonade (I prefer Diet Sprite or 7-Up, as they add extra citrus flavour and remove the need for additional sweetening).

Dress with 2 fresh raspberries pierced by a short straw and balanced over the top of the glass.

This is a light, refreshing summer alternative to a standard gin and lemonade, and is even one of your 5 a Day!

Mango & Passionfruit Vodka Collins

Mango Passion Collins3

Fill a Collins glass with ice. In a shaker add the vodka, syrup, lemon juice and more ice and shake until it frosts. Pour into the Collins glass and then fill with soda/lemonade. Scoop out the seeds from half of a passionfruit and add these to the drink.

I was given a bottle of Absolut Mango by my sister and have been looking at how to use it, and I’ve found that the combination of the mango and passionfruit flavours works well with the simplicity of lemonade. I also love the fresh passionfruit seeds that pop up the straw for a fruity surprise!

If you start with the basic Collins recipe then the sky really is the limit – whether it’s just using a particularly aromatic gin, or experimenting with fruits and syrups, you can make a drink based on a classic, but that is very much your own.

What are your favourite flavour combinations? Try something new this weekend.

Enjoy (responsibly!) x

One response to “Spotlight on…Tom Collins

  1. Pingback: A Drink for Europe! | Why can't it always be Happy Hour?·

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