The Tom Collins is a classic that has stood the test of time. Since its debut in The Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas, it’s become a signature drink for bartenders and home bartenders alike. It’s vibrant, fuzzy, and refreshing, making it a perfect drink for a hot summer’s day.
The best gins for the cocktail are:
- Bombay Sapphire
- New Amsterdam Stratusphere The Original
- Monkey 47
- Barr Hill Tom Cat
Each brand offers unique characteristics, allowing you to personalize your cocktail experience. Carry on reading about these gins and tips on how to perfect your Tom Collins.
What’s The Best Gin For Making A Tom Collins?
London Dry gins are fantastic for a Tom Collins. They have a strong juniper and citrus profile, providing a refreshing and herbal foundation essential for the cocktail.
Why Is It Called A Tom Collins?
The Tom Collins originated from a 19th-century hoax in the US. The prank involved a fictional troublemaker named Tom Collins spreading false rumors and defaming people. Bartenders who were in on the joke told unsuspecting victims the man in question was at a nearby bar, sending them on a wild goose chase. The cocktail became associated with the prank and was served whenever people asked for Tom Collins.
What Goes Into A Tom Collins?
The cocktail’s ingredients include:
- Lemon Juice
- Simple Syrup
- Carbonated water
What Characteristics We Look For In A Gin
Juniper is the cornerstone of gin. The flavor compounds–pinene, limonene, sabinene–contribute to the piney and citrusy notes. Where a Tom Collins is concerned, it adds depth by balancing the zest of lemon juice and effervescence of the soda to create a well-rounded drink.
Citrus botanicals enhance the overall brightness of the gin. In a Tom Collins, the citrus notes echo the lemon juice, creating a pleasant interplay of flavors, producing a crisp and invigorating cocktail you can enjoy on warm summer evenings.
Higher-priced gins often boast superior botanical sourcing and a more complex flavor profile. But there are also excellent mid-range and budget-friendly gins that offer great value without compromising taste. And we’ve included them in this post!
A gin with a higher ABV can provide a bolder and more robust flavor, allowing it to shine without overpowering the rest of the ingredients.
Our 6 Best Gins For Making A Tom Collins Cocktail
Best Overall Gin: Beefeater
Beefeater is our go-to when looking to create an authentic Tom Collins. It’s both juniper and citrus forward, with a decent ABV. Also, the distillers uphold the traditional technique of producing gin by macerating botanicals for 24 hours before distillation for a smooth finish. Despite being citrus-forward, it beautifully highlights the other ingredients. It’s reasonably priced too!
Best Cheap Gin: Broker’s
Broker’s Gin, awarded a score of 97 at the prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge, proves that affordability doesn’t compromise quality. Similar to Beefeaters, this brand follows a traditional process, using a copper pot still and macerating botanicals for 24 hours. The result is a quadruple-distilled and smooth spirit.
Best Top Shelf Gin: Bombay Sapphire
Bombay Sapphire is a favorite amongst gin enthusiasts and it’s easy to see why. It’s infused with 10 botanicals from around the world, giving it fresh, bright citrus notes with a light spicy finish. The spirit presents a balanced taste, making it an awesome addition to any Tom Collins recipe.
Best Citrus-Forward Gin: New Amsterdam Stratusphere The Original
New Amsterdam brings a crisp and clean taste to your Tom Collins. It showcases orange and lime flavors alongside traditional juniper. What you’ll experience is a refreshingly smooth finish, making it suitable for a zesty cocktail.
Best Botanical Gin: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
Monkey 47 is extraordinarily crafted with 47 botanicals, far surpassing the average gin’s botanical count. It has initial aromas of juniper leading to pine, tart berry, pepper, and herbal notes. This high-ABV (47%) gin is fantastic if you’re looking for a gin-forward cocktail with a range of aromas and flavors.
Best Barrel-Aged Gin: Barr Hill Tom Cat
If you’re looking for a bold twist to this classic cocktail, Barr Hill is an excellent choice. Aged in new American oak barrels, the gin encapsulates the robust character of the cask and the coniferous quality of juniper. What sets it apart is the touch of raw honey. The sweetener complements the caramel notes and aroma derived from the aging process, creating a multi-dimensionally flavored cocktail.
5 Tips To Make The Perfect Tom Collins
1. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides the bright citrus flavor that compliments gin. Squeeze the fruit’s juices just before mixing the cocktail for the brightest flavors.
2. Club Soda is best!
You can never go wrong with a club soda; it’s crisp and refreshing. This helps highlight the rest of the flavors in the cocktail.
3. Use rich simple syrup
Turn your cocktail up a notch by using rich simple syrup in place of simple syrup. It’s thicker, which balances out the acidity for a lustrous mouthfeel.
4. Mind the Glassware
In keeping up with tradition, we suggest you serve your cocktail in a tall Collins glass or a highball glass filled with ice.
5. Garnish Creatively
There are various ways to make a Tom Collins. Garnish with lemon, lime wedges, mint, or basil, for a personalized drink.
The Tom Collins is a timeless cocktail that continues to captivate gin enthusiasts around the world. If you want to create an unforgettable cocktail, you’ll never go wrong with London Dry Gins like Beefeater or Monkey 47. They give you enough room to play around with a myriad of flavors to excite both you and your guests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What do you serve a Tom Collins in?
A Tom Collins is served in a Collins glass or a highball glass over ice.
Q. What is the difference between a Tom Collins and a Gin and Tonic?
A Tom Collins combines gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda, while a Gin and Tonic pairs gin with tonic water.
Q. What’s the best gin to use in a Tom Collins?
London Dry gins like Beefeater, Broker’s Gin, and Bombay Sapphire are excellent choices for a Tom Collins.
Q. Is Hendricks good for a Tom Collins?
Hendricks is good for a Tom Collins. It’s contemporary with floral, fruity, and fresh notes, which is ideal if you want a modern twist to the cocktail.
Q. What’s the difference between a Tom Collins and a John Collins?
A Tom Collins uses gin, while a John Collins substitutes the gin with whiskey.