Recipe: Tom Collins

Classic Tom Collins | Recipe | Melbourne Cocktails

Tom Collins

When it comes to classic cocktails, the Tom Collins is one of the true originals.

It was first documented in 1876 by America’s grandaddy of mixology, Jerry Thomas, though there was an earlier version of the drink called the John Collins.

Historians speculate that the name change was due to the gin brand Old Tom. In fact Old Tom may have even hijacked the drink with a PR stunt. ‘The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874’ was a practical joke which started in New York and spread across America. People would start a conversation with “Have you seen Tom Collins?” The person they were talking to would reply they didn’t know Tom Collins. The practical joker would assert that this Tom Collins was talking about them in the bar around the corner and the target of the hoax would become agitated and rush off to find this ‘Tom Collins’.

From there, the Tom Collins cocktail went on to become one of America’s most popular drinks!

The Tom Collins is mixed with American Dry Gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda. When a bottle of the Greenhook Ginsmiths American Dry Gin arrived in my hot little hands, I thought it was perfect for the Tom Collins. It’s crisp, aromatic and zesty with hand zested lemon and orange peel, plus wonderful organic botanicals, such as elderflower, chamomile, coriander and elderberries, ginger and cinnamon.


  • 45 ml American Dry Gin
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 15 ml sugar syrup (see note)
  • Soda water
  • Garnish: slice of lemon, maraschino cherry & a dash of maraschino cherry syrup

Note: to make sugar syrup, add 1/2 cup caster sugar to 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Cool and refrigerate til ready for use.


Add ice cubes, lemon juice, gin and sugar syrup to Tom Collins glass. Stir well with a cocktail spoon. Top with more ice and soda water. Garnish.

Tom Collins Cocktail | Recipe | Melbourne Cocktails


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