The Tom Collins

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
April 4, 2014

All photos: Getty Images

Oh, hi, Friday. Is it 5 o’clock yet? 3 o’clock? 1 o’clock? No matter. In our hearts, it’s cocktail o’clock. 

Since limes have recently become pricier thanks to a diminished crop in Mexico, look to their sibling fruit, lemons. (Hello, relief from old fashioneds and spiked hot chocolates, it’s nice to see you.)

The Tom Collins is sprightly, easy, and can be made with ingredients you probably have kicking around: citrus, seltzer, sugar, and gin. If you’re feeling fancy, garnish it with a maraschino cherry or an orange slice, but no need. (Some things are better simple.)

It’s a cocktail with a seriously long history: Its first cameo was in Jerry Thomas’s “The Bon Vivant’s Companion,” circa 1877, and its name traces to a London waiter that dreamt up the combo. When making a Tom Collins circa 2014, try to locate a fairly dry gin—one labeled “London Dry Gin" will usually do right by you—tweak the sugar content and acid content to suit your taste, and pair with a porch and good weather. 

Tom Collins

Adapted from
Makes 1

2 oz dry gin (such as Beefeater)
1 oz Fresh lemon juice
1/5 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
Club soda
Garnish: Lemon slices

1. Add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to a glass and stir.

2. Fill with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with 2 lemon slices.