The Tom Collins might be the best cocktail to make for yourself in your own home. It just so happens to be a long-time favorite of ours, too. It’s crisp and zesty. It’s gin without the tonic, and all the better for it. It doesn’t require anything in the way of headache-inducing, hard-to-find ingredients. And it is very old.
Esquire has been endorsing the Tom Collins for many years. In 1946, we declared it a potent potable worth knowing, and two years later, marveled at its popularity, noting “the automatic cry of millions: ‘Tom Collins, please!'” By the late ’80s, we lamented that it had been tossed aside in favor of more “lurid” cocktails loaded up with creams and liqueurs. And now, craving a little simplicity and a lot of refreshment, we’re talking it up for the hundredth-or-so time.
A more traditional Tom Collins is built over ice in a Collins glass, stirred, then topped with bubbly water. Try it this way, though: shaking the fresh lemon juice with the syrup and gin first, then pouring over ice and finishing with soda water to better blend the flavors.
A Little Background
The Tom Collins was named after a practical joke that spread like wildfire in New York in the 1874. It went like this: You’d tell a fellow that a man named Tom Collins was talking shit about him, prompting the guy to go off in a rage to hunt this Tom Collins character down. Only thing was, Tom Collins didn’t exist. Got ’em. Like the Bird Box challenge of its time, it was dubbed “the Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874.” Two years later, the first recipe for a drink named the Tom Collins appeared in a cocktail book written by America’s premier mixologist of the time, Jerry Thomas.
Or perhaps Thomas got the name from Great Britain, where a bartender named John Collins was linked to a similar recipe, which was made with Old Tom Gin.
If You Like This, Try These
Looking for more traditional gin drinks? There are loads to try. The Gin Fizz takes the same basic ingredients as a Tom Collins—gin, lemon juice, and sugar—shaken, then strained into a glass. From there, you have variations like the Sloe Gin Fizz, the Ramos Fizz, the Silver Fizz, the Green Fizz…pick your poison. Other gin, citrus, and soda classics include the Gin Rickey and the Singapore Sling. And naturally, there’s the G&T; buy good tonic for this one.
What You Need
Here’s what you need to do a Tom Collins justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard.
Food styling by Sean Dooley
Prop Styling by Summer Moore
Source : Esquire