The Tom Collins

In the late 1800s, there was quite the kerfuffle surrounding the Tom Collins classic gin cocktail.

Is the Tom Collins gin cocktail a take on the John Collins cocktail, replacing the bourbon with gin, or was it designed after a song which might have been called “John Collins” or “Jim Collins”?

What we can say is this particular gin cocktail is so famous, the tall glass it’s traditionally served in is the Collins Glass. How badass do you have to be to have a piece of barware named after you!?

Does it really matter now? We still get to enjoy this lovely take on lemonade and gin, with some added fizz.

Serve cold, over ice, in the tallest glass you can find.

Tom Collins in a Collins glass (of course!!!!) with a lemon wedge

The Tom Collins

Lemonade, fizz, and gin make up the Tom Collins classic gin cocktail.


  • 2 Oz. Gin
  • 3/4 Oz. Lemon juice Do squeeze your own for the best possible taste.
  • 3/4 Oz. SImple syrup
  • 2 Oz. Club soda Try seltzer if that's what you have.


  • Chill your Collins glass! Either pop it in the freezer, let it sit filled with ice, or dunk in a bucket of ice. Empty any ice before your ingredients are added.
  • Add your gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a shaker. Top with ice and shake vigorously.
  • Strain into your Collins glass, which now has fresh ice added.
  • Top off with club soda.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge, slice, or sliver. Maraschino cherry is often added as well!

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You can make your own simple syrup by adding equal parts sugar and water to a saucepan and heating.  The sugar will dissolve over time, and the mixture will become clear when it's finished.  Let your simple syrup cool before using.  Store in the fridge for many more uses. 

Simple Syrup

How to easily make your own simple syrup for gin cocktails.
Prep Time 1 minute
Cooling time 30 minutes


  • 1 part Sugar Start with a cup and see how that works for you.
  • 1 part Water Match that cup of sugar with a cup of water.


  • Combine equal parts of sugar and water into a saucepan.
  • Boil it up! I like to bring the mixture to a boil slowly.
  • Stir your sugar and water mixture constantly.
  • You are done cooking when the syrup is clear.
  • Remove from the heat and allow the simple syrup to cool.
  • Keep your simple syrup refridgerated.
Fresh juices sometimes make for the best gin cocktails. And also a bit of a mess.

Play games with your Tom Collins.

You can do this a few ways.

  • Mess with the simple syrup flavors. Do you love the lip-puckering taste of lemon? Make a lemon essence simple syrup. Or add a touch of mint. Perhaps lime. Maybe berry?

  • Modify the garnish. Out of lemons? Add some other fruit. Pineapple in season? Go nuts. Other fresh tastes to try might be mango, berry, apple, or pear.

  • Change the simple syrup to an elderflower liquor! Then your Tom Collins becomes a Thomas Collins? Or a Phil Collins? You make it, you get to name it. I just call it an Elderflower Collins, and it’s amazing.

Tom Collins Gin Cocktail
Pin this perfect gin cocktail for a lazy day on a boat.