The Story

In his charming and informative 1948 book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, David Embury tells us that as “the tallest of tall drinks …a special glass has even been created for it…. the Collins is simply a Sour served in a tall glass with ice and charged water.”

The John Collins is believed to have originated with a head waiter of that name who worked at Limmer’s Old House in Conduit Street in Mayfair, which was a popular London hotel and coffee house around 1790–1817.

The specific call for Old Tom gin in an 1869 recipe is a likely cause for the subsequent name change to “Tom Collins” a few years later.


Originally there were only two brothers in the Collins family – Tom and John. 

During recent years, however, numerous cousins have appeared on the scene – Pedro, Pierre, Sandy, Mike, Jack, the Colonel, and several others whose first names have not yet been officially recorded in the baptismal registry.

The Recipe

What you need
2 ounces London Dry gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 oz. club soda, or to top of glass

What you do
Add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup into a Collins glass. Fill with ice, top with club soda and STIR with vigour.  (Or combine all in the shaker and SHAKE.) 

Garnish: lemon wheel, maraschino cherry

Serve: Your tallest Collins glass

Patrick (Paddy) Moore

Patrick (Paddy) Moore is the author of the series Quarantinis, Eh? featuring cocktails that commemorate the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021.

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