- 30ml Sugar Syrup
- 30ml fresh lemon juice
- 50ml Rogue Society Gin
- Place all ingredients (except soda) into a Collins (highball) glass.
- Fill with ice, stir a little, and top with soda.
- Stir some more, and garnish with a lemon slice and a maraschino cherry.
- Sip, and face the inevitability of repetition.
The Tom Collins. I know what you're all expecting, a story about a guy named Tom, who liked his gin and made something special? Well, you are half right… He did make something special, but no, his name was not Tom, but we will get to that later. This drink is a classic, and having quenched the thirst of generations upon generations, and for good reason too; it is absolutely fantastic. It's the kind of beverage you could make by accident 100 times and not think you were being that clever - but that's just it, you weren’t. The sheer brilliance of this drink is not in its complexity, or its ground-breaking discovery, it's the honest-to-goodness taste.
Lemon and sugar, we all already know, is just great. The sourness adds flavour complexity, the sugar balances out the sourness, adding its own bang to the drink. The pairing of these two regulars on the cocktail scene with arguably the most complex spirit you could bring to the table seems to just work. Gin just explodes out of the drink, your tongue's left gasping for air after the slight touch of sour, and the nature of the beast finds you going back for another sip, before even realising what hit you. And that's all before I've even talked about the soda: the slightest touch of fizz adds an element of refreshment to a drink that sort of already has everything else?
The most classic of the ‘Collins’ cocktails, this drink has carried with it a vast amount of stories and myths, dating back more years than I care to count; even then, knowing which one is the truth is no mean feat. My preference is the story of a bar tender by the name of John Collins, who was making a gin punch at the Limmer Hotel Bar in the 1820’s and 30’s (yes… that long ago), using mostly a dutch spirit that was similar to gin (pre-dating the godly spirit we enjoy today). One day, he decided to use Old Tom Gin, and make a singular drink, instead of a whole batch of punch. His messing around, probably influenced by one too many spoonfuls of his punch creation, essentially led to what we today know as the Tom Collins, for which I am eternally grateful.
Other variations of the story include the ‘father’ of American mixology, Jerry Thomas, and the drink being his own personal creation, taking his last name and stamping itself into bartending history. But if we're being honest, who really cares for its history? The simply named, simply made, drink has launched itself into every single bartender's repertoire; to not know it inside out is our profession's greatest sacrilege.