Summer Cocktails: The Tom Collins

Today’s post is contributed by Kristina Sutter, a Scotch Whisky Expert and cocktail enthusiast.


When creating a delightful cocktail, I take the same approach as choosing friends, clothes and décor.  I want character, flavor and integrity.  I love spirits that spend time resting and relaxing in a delicious oak barrel.  However, in the summer time, when in need of a refresher, I will easily forgive those that lean towards clear spirits.  But rather than reach for vodka,  go for the original flavored vodka: Gin.

Gin was originally created to mask the harsh flavor of 17th century spirits. Gin and Tonic was recognized as a medicinal drink to settle the tummy.

There are a handful of recognized types of gin, but the common theme is the final distillation (usually in a pot still): distilled with juniper berries, coriander, orange peel, lemon peel, other herbs and roots.  Gin was the base spirit in the classic cocktails, NOT vodka.  The true cocktail connoisseur will always reach for Gin.

My favorite gin-based, summer-time cocktail is quite simple.  It has many things in common with the original recipes for many other patio style drinks: A base spirit, sour (FRESH lemon/lime juice) and sweet (sugar, simple syrup).  Margaritas, Mojotos, Caipirinhas, Caipiroskas, and even the original daiquiri all have this flavor profile in common.

My friends, Meet Mr. Tom Collins!  This drink goes back to the 19th century and has variations made with Vodka and whisky as well.

Tom Collins
First appeared in How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas, 1876 ed.

1.5 oz your favorite Gin
1 oz simple syrup
¾ oz FRESH squeezed lemon juice (it’s not that hard)
Club soda to top

Shake first three ingredients with ice, and strain into an ice filled Collins glass (tall, skinny), then fill with soda and garnish with a cherry and orange slice, or frankly whatever you want.

You may have also heard of a gin fizz, which is the same recipe, but in a shorter glass.  A gimlet simply leaves out the simple syrup.


Get your shakers chilled and get going!


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