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The Tom Collins is perfectly at home by the pool, in the lounge, or at the supper table. It’s a little sweet, it’s a little tart, and it’s one of those classics that pleases everyone.
Now seems like a good time to talk about mixers. We’ve all been there, in the soda aisle, and seen those yellow plastic jugs of “collins mix,” or “sour mix.” They could be the same thing, a collins is just a sour with soda, but are they necessary? We say no. OK, that’s a qualified “no” because we actually do approve of mixers, just as long as we make them ourselves, when, say, we’re entertaining on a weekend and just want a head start. The mixer for this drink is lemon and sugar, and soda. You know what that is? It’s lemonade. Yep, that’s all you need, and while we certainly love the convenience of mixers, and see nothing wrong with saving some work, it’s not that much more work to make something much tastier. Skip the mixers, grab a bottle of soda, and buy some lemons and sugar instead. Make some simple syrup from the sugar, juice the lemons, and you’re ready to go with everything you need.
You have everything you need, that is, except for the gin, which brings us to the question of origin. We’re just not going to try. You’ll read a dozen different stories about how this drink came about and how it got it’s name, but we can confirm none of them. Neither can we confirm that the Tom in Tom Collins is a reference to old tom gin. There are, indeed, recipes from the 1800s that do call specifically for old tom gin, but there are an equal number of recipes that don’t. The only thing we can agree on is that the Tom Collins contains gin, and we’re happy with that because we like it with old tom gin, and we also like it with London dry gin. Depends on the mood.
2 oz (60ml) Aria gin
1 oz (30ml) lemon juice
1/2 oz (15ml) simple syrup
Add ice to a collins glass, then add the lemon juice and syrup. Top with soda, stir gently until mixed and garnish with a lemon slice.