Tom Collins Recipe

The Tom Collins is a beloved and classic cocktail in many cocktail bars and restaurants worldwide. It comes from the Collins cocktail family, which includes variations like the Vodka Collins (made with vodka) and John Collins (made with whiskey). This article below will show you how to make a delicious Tom Collins cocktail and share some interesting facts about it. 

The history of Tom Collins cocktails comes from the 19th century. Its origin is in the US, and an interesting story about its creation exists. The cocktail’s initial fame is related to a hoax or prank that gained widespread popularity in the 1870s in New York City and other big cities in America. 

 According to the story,  someone would approach a person and ask whether they saw Tom Collins. The random victims usually respond that they hadn’t seen the guy with the name like that. Then the prankster will tell that Tom Collins has been saying slanderous things about them, and he went next door to a nearby bar. When he heard that, with curiosity and fury, the victim would seek out Tom Collins, and the result he received was just laughter from the pranksters. 

This hoax inspired bartenders to create cocktails that get the drink’s name. Over time, it has become increasingly popular, thanks to the crisp and refreshing taste – the combination of gin sour and carbonated water. 

Tom Collins Recipe

Tom Collins Recipe

Tom Collins Recipe

The Tom Collins is great for summer days - the citrus-forward cocktail with a great balance between sweet and sour, with a clean and crisp finish. For those looking for a refreshing and revitalizing cocktail, it's a must-try!
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 drink


  • Highball glass
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Strainer


  • 2 oz. Gin 60 ml
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice 30 ml
  • 1/2 to 3/4 oz. Rich simple syrup 15 to 22 ml
  • 2-3 oz. Soda water 60-90 ml
  • Lemon wheel and Cherry for garnish
  • Ice


  • Chill the glass first in the fridge for a few minutes.
  • Put the mixture of gin, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
    1 oz. Fresh lemon juice, 1/2 to 3/4 oz. Rich simple syrup, 2 oz. Gin
  • Fill ice into the shaker and shake for about 20-25 seconds to chill and the ingredients are well-mixed.
  • Use a strainer to pour the cocktail into the chilled highball glass filled with ice.
  • Top off the glass with club soda to the desired level of fizziness.
    2-3 oz. Soda water
  • Gentle stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Garnish on the rim of the glass with a lemon slice and top with a maraschino cherry if desired.
    Lemon wheel and Cherry for garnish



Pro Tips for Success:

  • Fresh lemon juice is always the best choice for the greatest flavor. The bottle ones can not give the brightness and freshness compared with freshly squeezed lemons.
  • Adjust the sweetness to suit your taste. You can start with a small amount of simple syrup and add more if needed.
  • Choose quality gin because it greatly impacts the flavor of the cocktail. London dry gin is a type usually used for this cocktail.
  • Chill the glass first to keep the drink colder for longer.
  • Shake the cocktail well to dilute and mix the ingredients properly.

How doesTom Collins taste?

The Tom Collins has a refreshing and bright flavor profile. It is a harmonious balance of tartness, sweetness, gin note, and delightful effervescence. The tart citrus comes from the fresh lemon juice. The sweetness of simple syrup mellows the tartness. The gin with herbal notes gives the drink a subtle complexity. And with the addition of club soda or carbonated water makes the cocktail more fizzy and refreshing.

What is the difference between a Tom Collins and a John Collins?

Tom Collins and John Collins have similar recipes with lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. Still, they use different types of alcohol, specifically: 

  • Tom Collins uses gin as the base spirit for the cocktail. The classic recipe includes gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. It has a bright, citrusy flavor and a hint of botanical notes from the gin.
  • John Collins uses whiskey (typically bourbon or rye) instead of gin. This variation has a slightly richer and spicier flavor due to the whiskey.