The origin of the John Collins, like so many cocktails, is a bit murky, but it certainly has been around since the late 1880s. There are some people that believe the cocktail has been enjoyed since almost a century before that, around 1790.
There was a headwaiter by the name of John Collins who worked at Limmer’s Old Street on Conduit Street, in the Wayfair part of London, and many believe that the drink is attributed to this particular man. Regardless, it is a drink that managed to jump “across the pond”, as it is believed that New York was introduced to the lovely cocktail around 1850 or so. The 1869 recipe called for Old Tom gin, which is believed to be the reason that it is often referred to as a “Tom Collins” in modern times.
- 1 ½ ounce of bourbon whiskey (or gin)
- 1 ounce of juice of lemon
- ½ ounce of simple syrup
- 2 ounces of club soda
- Pour the bourbon, lemon juice, and syrup into a Collins glass filled with ice cubes.
- Top with club soda.
- Collins Glass
The drink should be made with fresh lemon juice for optimum effect, and while bourbon whiskey is often the most used liquor, it can be replaced with London dry gin, scotch whiskey, or other liquors. One of the ways that the drink has proved to have more of a history than other cocktails is that is immortalized in the Collins glass, which are still called that to this day, and are specifically designed to hold Collins cocktails, but have remained a mainstay in bar culture.
The John Collins, or Tom Collins, has managed to be a whiskey-soda cocktail that is still widely popular around the world, and the cocktail is one of the rare drinks that has managed to remain relevant for centuries now. If you are a whiskey-soda fan, you probably already know about it, but if not, try a John Collins today!