Traditional Tom Collins Recipe

Published December 9, 2021
tom collins drink


  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces gin
  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • Lemon slice and cherry for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin.
  2. Add ice and shake to chill.
  3. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
  4. Top with club soda.
  5. Garnish with the lemon slice and cherry.

Substitutions and Variations

The most popular variation for the Tom Collins is the vodka Collins--it's the same drink, just made with vodka in place of the gin. You can also try the following variations:

  • Top with lemon-lime soda instead of club soda.
  • For a refreshing fizz, top with two ounces of sparkling wine and then fill to the top with club soda.
  • Try it with tequila in place of the gin to make a tequila collins.
  • Muddle some berries or soft fruit with the simple syrup before adding the remaining ingredients for a fruity collins.
  • Add a few dashes of flavored bitters.


A lemon slice and maraschino cherry is the classic Collins garnish. You can also use different fruits or berries in a similar way for an updated appearance.

About Tom Collins

So who is Tom Collins anyway? While it's certain there are real people named Tom Collins, it turns out the classic drink isn't named after an actual person. The likely origin of the cocktail's name arises from a joke from the 1870s. As the story goes (and it may just be a story and not an actual truth), in 1874 a joke circulated in New York City that some guy named Tom Collins was going around town talking crap about people, which roused the rabble. People started going from tavern to tavern, seeking Mr. Collins to put a stop to his rumormongering. Funny joke, huh? Fortunately, the angry mob never came face-to-face with some poor sap actually named Tom Collins. However, bartenders did honor the fictional smack-talker by creating a drink named in his honor. Thus, the Tom Collins could be considered the official drink of pot stirrers everywhere. Or you could just think of it as a light, tasty, fizzy gin delivery system.

Collins All Gin Lovers

Are you out there gin lovers? Come in gin lovers! If you're there, please give the Tom Collins a try. It's a fizzy, botanical, refreshing cocktail that's sure to tickle your fancy--and your taste buds.

Traditional Tom Collins Recipe