Friday, April 16, 2010

Tom Collins

The Tom Collins is another cocktail classic.  Everyone has heard of it, not everyone has consumed one. 

I have had a Tom Collins before, and if my memory serves me well, it reminded me of a flat and off-tasting Sprite.  Mind you, this was when I was around 18 years old or so, and at the time, I had no palate for cocktails.  If it was sweet, I could drink it.  I was also using a Tom Collins mix, which, much like the sour drinks of old I talked about yesterday, the Tom Collins mix was made entirely of sugar. 

Today's recipe though, is free of such shenanigans, and will taste miles better. 

The Tom Collins is an old drink, its origins dating back to 1874.  Then, "Tom Collins" was the name of a fictitious hooligan, a rather innocuous hoax that was featured in multiple newspapers.  Papers printed reports of a troublemaker named Tom Collins, and the name began to stick on various drinks in 1876. 

Here is the recipe:

Tom Collins
American Bar, page 187

3/4-1 oz lemon juice
1/4-3/4 oz sugar syrup
2 oz gin
stemmed cherry

Stir first three ingredients well over ice cubes in a Collins glass, fill with soda, add cherry and lemon slice.

For the Tom Collins, I'll be using Bombay Sapphire gin, Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lemon Juice, Schweppes club soda, and simple syrup from Fresh Market.

This is chuggable.  I had to catch myself from downing this drink at an extreme clip. 

Quick sidebar:  Those that know me, know that I have a tendency to chug everything I drink, especially water.  I don't know where this stems from; I've consumed absurd amounts of water ever since I was a kid.  I don't normally chug beer though, for whatever the reason.  I can, if need be (the old college case-races, 2 on 2...good times).  Anyway, as a result of this tendency, when something is as tasty as the Tom Collins, I have to force myself not to down it too quickly.  If only this were my lone quirk.

As I was saying - the Tom Collins is chuggable.  Like many of the drinks featured of late, this is a brilliant cocktail for warm weather, in part because of the large ice cubes that make the cocktail more akin to an ice tea than a martini.  You'll be reminded of a light lemonade, perfect to cool you off.

And it doesn't taste like a Sprite in the slightest.  You can easily taste the lemon juice, which pairs nicely with the gin.  Bombay Sapphire has really nice fruit notes as it is, and the lemon juice and gin go together like Lennon and McCartney. 

The Tom Collins receives an unequivocal recommendation.  But don't buy a mix.  I implore you, please.  Do. Not. Buy. A. Mix.

Do though, have an excellent weekend.  And let me know how the drinks are going - love hearing feedback from those who have made recipes and written in.  As always, I appreciate your readership!


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wibia on April 16, 2010 at 1:43 PM said...

I knew a guy in school named Tom Collins. The drink appears to be a lot cooler than he was.

Good review and I can tend to chug as well.

You mentioned the mix being bogus, but are there any mixes that are as good as the real thing? Shoudl I hold questions until the end and wait for that to be a future post?

Anonymous said...

I"ve had the mixxes too. they taste like cough syrip.

The Amateur Mixologist on April 19, 2010 at 3:34 PM said...

WIBIA - That's a good question re: whether there are any decent mixes out there.

And yes, we'll cover some of that ground in the future. For the time being though, I'd say that if sugar of any kind is the main ingredient on a mix, stay away. This is doubly-true if high fructose corn syrup is in the mix.

Mixes invariably lack the nuance that a cocktail's ingredients are meant to impart into the drink. Tom Collins mixes are especially poorly concocted.

We'll touch upon this in a future post in greater detail.

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Anonymous said...

As I was saying - the Tom Collins is chuggable. Like many of the drinks featured of late, this is a brilliant cocktail for warm weather, in part because of the large ice cubes that make the cocktail more akin to an ice tea than a martini. You'll be reminded of a light lemonade, perfect to cool you off.
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