Friday Happy Hour: The Tom Collins

It’s finally, finally, finally Spring. So we can finally break out some Spring cocktails! Here’s another entry in our back-to-basics series, this time one of the best and easiest drinks out there: the Tom Collins. – Andrew

Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe / Liquorary for Oh So Beautiful Paper


Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Tom Collins

2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
Soda Water

Shake the spirits, lemon, and syrup with ice. Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice and top with soda water. Garnish with fruit. Enjoy!

There’s nothing too complicated here: spirits, citrus, sugar, and soda water. Sound familiar? This is basically a sparkling Gin Sour. Sweet and tart, crisp and floral from the gin, sparkling and refreshing – perfect for this time of year.

Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe / Liquorary for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Almost any Tom Collins these days will be made with dry gin, which is just fine. But it’s even better with Old Tom gin – a sweeter, maltier cousin of dry gin – or Genever, the ancestor of modern gin that’s a bit like a botanical-laden whiskey. Or, really, you could use pretty much any spirit you’d like. (I really love Ransom’s aged Old Tom.) You can, and should, also adjust the tartness and sweetness to suit your tastes. That recipe above is a suggestion, not a rule. It’s hard to mess up a Tom Collins.

Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe / Liquorary for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Tom Collins is so obvious a recipe that it appears in the record not long after the first cocktails, in the 1830s in England, evolving out of Gin Punch. Back then, it was called the John Collins, probably named for the first person to make the drink, or at least claim to be the first to make it. (You can still order a John Collins, but you’ll get a whiskey version of this drink.) It probably took on its current name a few decades later, when someone figured out this drink is particularly amazing with Old Tom gin. It kept the name even though we forgot all about Old Tom gin, though thankfully distillers are starting to produce it again based on old recipes.

Don’t forget to let us know if you try any of our recipes. And if you do make one at home, you can use #osbphappyhour to share photos of these (or your own creations) on Instagram.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

  1. I’m so glad everyone enjoyed this week’s cocktail! I especially love that the Tom Collins is near enough to another amazing spring drink–the Rickey, which we featured in March two years ago–that once you have the basics down, there’s a whole world of sparkly, delicious drinks available to you.

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