The Tom Collins Recipe

Spring is here and what better way to celebrate than by serving up some classic cocktails. One of our favorite drinks is a Tom Collins. We love this cocktail for warmer months because it tastes like spiked sparkling lemonade.

The first recorded Tom Collins was written down by the famed Father of American Mixology, Jerry Thomas. Thomas published the Bar-Tenders guide in 1876 and included the recipe for the Tom Collins cocktail.

Before the publication, Tom Collins was well-known in New York. It was a running hoax that a man named Tom Collins was bad-mouthing people around town.

The modern recipe remains similar to the original, with Old Tom Gin listed as the alcohol. Of course, any gin can be used to fit personal preferences. Many bartenders like using a dry gin like London Dry Gin.

A Tom Collins is similar to other popular gin cocktails. A gin fizz uses the same ingredients but is shaken in a cocktail shaker and strained, while a Collins is stirred and poured over ice cubes.

How To Make a Tom Collins

tom collins cocktail

The ingredients you'll need for a Tom Collins are gin, lemons, club soda, and sugar or honey. A Tom Collins is served in a collins glass, which is basically just a highball glass.

First, you'll need to make the sugar syrup. In a pan, combine sugar, or honey, and water and whisk until the sugar dissolves.

In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 ounces gin, 1-ounce lemon juice, and simple syrup. For the best-tasting cocktail, make sure to use fresh lemon juice. Shake to combine and until the shaker is cold to the touch.

Strain the drink into a Collins glass over ice. Fill the remainder of the glass with soda water or club soda, and stir gently.

Garnish with a lemon wheel or lemon wedge and a maraschino cherry.

One benefit of drinking a Tom Collins is the drink's nutrition facts. The drink provides a good amount of vitamin C due to the lemon juice. It has 0g of total fat and no cholesterol. It does not have any dietary fiber but provides a small amount of calcium. It's healthier than sweet blended drinks like margaritas or Pina Coladas.

Variations on the Tom Collins

tom collins cocktail

There are several other cocktail recipes that riff on a traditional Tom Collins. If you're not a gin fan, you can easily substitute vodka or whiskey as the alcohol of choice.

If using vodka, it would technically be called a Vodka Collins. If you substitute whiskey, your drink will be known as a John Collins. If you switch out the gin for rum, use lime juice instead of lemon, and add mint leaves, you've got yourself a mojito!

A gin gimlet is another classic gin cocktail. This drink is made with gin, lime juice, and simple syrup.

Gin punch is a fun and strong gin cocktail made with pineapple, orange liqueur, and champagne. This drink is served over ice with a lemon slice or orange slice as a garnish.

READ: 7 Spiced Rum Cocktails to Transport You to the Caribbean

Tom Collins

The Tom Collins cocktail might not be well known, but its refreshing zing of lemonade with gin will make it a summer favorite everywhere.


  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Club soda to top
  • Garnish: lemon wheel
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry


  • To a Collins glass add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup.
  • Fill with ice, top with club soda and stir. garnish with lemon and maraschino cherry.