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Tom Collins

Tom Collins is often described as the “little black dress” of cocktails, with an enduring, classic quality that has seen it included in bar lists for almost 150 years.

A medium-sweet gin and lemon based drink, the Tom Collins first appeared in writing in 1876 in a reprint of Jerry Thomas's iconic "The Bar-Tender's Guide or How to Mix Drinks". There are two disputed origins of the classic cocktail. The first claims it was invented by London bartender John Collins at Limmer’s Hotel on Conduit Street in London and was adapted from the renowned Gin Punch cocktails served at the hotel. The cocktail took the name of its creator, but using Old Tom gin rather than Genever, it became known as a Tom Collins. The second claim is that Tom Collins originated in New York and was named after an1874 hoax, where customers were told about an imaginary person insulting them in a neighbouring bar called Tom Collins.

There are also multiple variants: a Pierre Collins uses cognac or brandy; a Pedro Collins brings in rum; a Jack – or Joe – Collins has vodka as the main spirit ingredient; and a Colonel Collins uses bourbon instead of gin.

The combination of gin botanicals, citrus fruit sweetness and a touch of sourness, bubbled up with soda water means the Tom Collins is one of the simplest and well-known long drinks.

Tom Collins


  • 2 measures Gin
  • 1 measure freshly squeezed lemon juice,
  • ¾ measure sugar syrup (sugar 2:1 water)
  • Tonic Water
  • Orange slice and cherry (sail) to garnish

How to serve it

  • In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients except Soda water.
  • Add plenty of ice and shake.
  • Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
  • Top up with soda and gently stir.

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