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Tom Collins

The origin of this light and refreshing cocktail, the Tom Collins, is debatable as are most recipes. Most commonly, two stories are told. One has been documented the other is an urban legend that is still told to this day. The original creation of the cocktail is credited to John Collins, a bartender that worked at Limmer’s Hotel in London. Collins's charisma and friendly personality made him well-known in the London bar scene. The drink was first recorded in the second edition of Jerry Thomas’s recipe book, “The Bartender’s Guide.” It was published in 1876 and featured a new Collins class of drinks. The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874 - Another more interesting version of the story goes all the way back to 1874 in New York City – the Great Tom Collins Hoax. The tale goes, there once was a man that was a boisterous and loud fellow who would sit in taverns and speak harshly about anyone he encountered, or even people he didn’t. He became notorious for starting bar fights and would have people looking for him at different establishments in the area. Sadly, they would never find him but would alternatively be handed a gin-based cocktail instead of receiving their vengeance. Newspapers didn’t help the rumor mill. What would have been the TMZ gossip column of their time would print news of real-life Tom Collins sightings, urging people to find the cruel man. Because of tabloids he was one of the most interesting and elusive men “alive” for a time and is credited as the inspiration behind one of the most delicious gin-based cocktails.

Tom Collins Cocktail Recipe

  • 2oz dry gin

  • .5oz lemon juice

  • .5oz simple syrup

  • Club soda, to top

  • Lemon and cherry garnish


  • Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into an iced Collins glass.

  • Top with club soda and stir.

  • Garnish with lemon wheel and a cherry.

Variation: Spruce up this recipe by adding .5oz elderflower liqueur and .5oz lavender infused syrup to experience a light floral enhancement to your cocktail.

Stay hydrated. Drink Responsibly.

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