Tom Collins

By Mixology Events

Tom Collins

The Tom Collins is an old, classic gin cocktail. A simple gin sour made long with soda water, it even has its own glass—the Collins glass, named after it. The Collins is sour with all the herbaceous and floral notes you’d expect from a gin cocktail. Think of it as grown up lemonade.

Gin, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, Soda.

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The Tom Collins is one of the oldest and most classic high-ball cocktails, a simple combination of gin, lemon and sugar, topped with a generous splash of soda.

This perfectly honed concoction is a deliciously light and elegant cocktail and a sure fire hit at any bar hire. The Tom Collins is the original fizz and in fact, the glass most often used for fizzes, the high-ball takes its other name from this drink, often being referred to as a ‘Collins glass.’

Fizzes like the Tom Collins are a great way to balance out a menu populated by short strong cocktails, like a classics selection or a sours menu. Because of the added soda water, fizzes are a long and refreshing way of drinking making them perfect for long parties or hot summer days.

Many sours can be converted into fizzes with the simple addition of soda water, so if you’re already thinking of serving drinks like The Empress; a lychee and elderflower flavoured vodka sour, or the Daiquiri; a classic rum and lime sour, offering fizz-styled alternatives is an easy and effective way to please guests who prefer their cocktails on the lighter side.

The Tom Collins is an excellent classic in its own right and would sit perfectly amongst a classically styled menu, there are hundreds of delicious classic cocktails out there and some of our favourites to serve alongside a Tom Collins include, the Sidecar, a French, cognac based sour, featuring orange liqueur and a distinctive sugar rim, and the Whiskey Sour, a beautifully warming, creamy sour made with bourbon, lemon, sugar and egg whites to give it its characteristic, cloud-like texture.

If you’re planning on serving a Tom Collins as part of your cocktail menu and want to know what other drinks might work well with it, be sure to speak to your event organiser about your options or check out some other gin based, classic and high-ball-style cocktails from our list.  


More info for this cocktail will be available soon.

Myths & Legends

The recipe for a Tom Collins first appears in the second edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide or How to Mix Drinks: The Bon Vivant’s Companion, 1876.

Like most cocktail history it can’t be said for certain who invented the Tom Collins but there is an intriguing story that goes with it. It’s possible the original Tom Collins was invented by way of a popular prank being played in the late 1800’s.

In New York, people would ask a friend or a colleague if they’d seen Tom Collins, because they’d overheard him talking badly and saying slanderous things about them. There was, of course, no Tom Collins to find as he was imaginary. After being encouraged to go and find the perpetrator at the local bar, this is where the joke would play out. Upon asking the bartender where they could find the Tom Collins who didn’t exist they’d get laughed at for being the victim of the prank. Hilarious.


References for this cocktail will be available soon.

Ingredients & Equipment


  • 50ml Gin
  • 25ml Lemon Juice
  • 12.5ml Sugar Syrup
  • Soda Top
  • Lemon Wedge to Garnish


  • Shaker
  • Jigger/Measure
  • Hawthorne Strainer
  • Mexican Elbow
  • High-Ball Glass
  • Cubed Ice
  • Take your Boston glass or small tin
  • Using your jigger to measure, add the gin and sugar syrup to the shaker
  • Using your Mexican elbow and a igger to measure, squeeze 25ml of lemon juice and add it to the shaker
  • Fill your shaker with cubed ice and seal using your Boston tin or lid
  • Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds or until your tin is very cold
  • Fill your high-ball glass with cubed ice
  • Using your Hawthorne strainer, strain the cocktail into the glass
  • Fill to the top with soda water
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge
  • Serve and enjoy!



Fancy learning some of the core techniques that go into making the perfect Tom Collins? Join us on one of our range of cocktail making masterclasses.

We’re strong advocates of experience and it’s crucial role to picking up and applying knowledge. That’s why we deliver each of our range of cocktail making classes in as interactive a fashion as possible – providing a fully-equipped bar station for each of our guests, in turn giving them a great opportunity to really get to grips with the professional-standard equipment and ingredients at hand. On top of this, the fact that there will never be more than 5 guests to any one bar limits the time spent standing around as much as possible, meaning nobody’s experience is compromised.

The open-to-the-public variety of our cocktail making classes run every Friday and Saturday at our sister company and permanent home on Shoreditch’s Kingsland Road, TT Liquor, which houses a range of fully-equipped cocktail making studios.

 We also offer the option of taking things private if you’re part of a group of 6 or more aspiring mixologists. Our mobile cocktail class service allows us to take our portable bars on the road with us to any location across London, the UK and beyond. We have over a decade of experience and in that time we’ve held classes half way up the Shard, in a client’s back garden, and even as far afield as the Scottish Highlands.

If any of this sounds right up your street, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 020 8003 7982 and one of our dedicated events organisers will happily talk you through some your options, as well as answer any queries you may have about our services.