The Perfect Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe

The Perfect Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe
Arguably the most famous highball style cocktail of all time, the Tom Collins is a delicious mix of gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar and soda water.

Another late 1800s invention, the Tom Collins is one of the most classic gin cocktails you will come across. A delicious and complex tasting drink doesn’t need to be difficult to make, and the Tom Collins is the perfect example of that. The recipe that we know today was documented in 1882 and calls for Old Tom Gin, a slightly sweetened style that has since fallen out of favour due to improved distillation methods and a population with a drier palate. The Tom Collins works perfectly well either traditionally with Old Tom Gin or a contemporary style with London Dry Gin.

This cocktail is named after a famous hoax. In 1874 it was rumoured that Tom Collins was a boisterous and critical man who used to go to all the local taverns and slander people. If you were taken by the hoax and told that Tom Collins had been bad-mouthing you when you went on a search to find this “Tom Collins” finally you would end up at the bar, and upon asking for Tom Collins, you would be presented with this sour cocktail instead!

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60ml Gin (originally Old Tom)
20ml Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
20ml Sugar syrup (1 part sugar : 1 part water)
Splash Soda water (approx. 60ml-90ml)

Garnish Lemon peel

Ice Cubes

Glass Highball glass

Equipment Checklist

Hawthorne Strainer Shaker

Fine Strainer

Recommended Gins

Herno Old Tom Gin


1. Add all your ingredients (except soda water) to the shaker.

3. Fill shaker to the brim with cubes of ice.

4. Shake hard for 30 seconds.

5. Fine strain into a highball glass over ice.

6. Add a splash of soda

7. Garnish with a long lemon peel.

Bartender’s Top Tips

Flavoured gins can work exceptionally well in a Tom Collins Just make sure if it has some sweetness to reduce the amount of sugar syrup you add (to taste).

Remember to chill your glass in the freezer for 5 minutes before you fill it, to keep your drink colder and fresher for longer.

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