Tom Collins cocktail recipe

(6 ratings)

Tom Collins cocktail recipe
(Image credit: Future PLC)
Preparation Time5 mins
Cooking Time
Cost RangeMid

This Tom Collins cocktail requires no equipment except a highball glass and just four ingredients.

Tom Collins cocktail is a classic gin cocktail. For those who are put off by the bitterness of tonic water, this recipe uses soda water instead. Soda water is refreshing but less bitter. The lemon juice and sugar syrup help to add a sweet, citrus flavour to the gin.


  • 50ml Herno Old Tom Gin
  • 25ml Lemon juice
  • 15ml Sugar syrup
  • Soda water

For garnish:

  • Lemon wheel

You will need:

  • Highball glass
  • Crushed ice




  1. Add the Herno Old Tom gin, lemon and sugar syrup to a glass.
  2. Fill with crushed ice and stir.
  3. Top with soda and serve immediately.

Top tips for making a Tom Collins cocktail

  • While we recommend a highball glass, you could use a shorter glass it will just be less diluted as you won’t be able to pour as much soda water in

  • To make your own sugar syrup simply dissolve some sugar in half the weight of water. For approx 100ml of sugar syrup, you would dissolve 100g sugar in 50ml water

  • You can garnish with a wedge of lemon if you prefer or use a Y Peeler to create a twist of lemon peel

  • At some bars this cocktail is garnished with a maraschino cherry, you could also use a dash of the cherry syrup instead of sugar syrup if you prefer

Where does a Tom Collins cocktail originate from?

There are lots of stories about the origins of the Tom Collins cocktail. It’s widely believed that it was named after the Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874 which repeatedly cropped up in bars across New York.

The joke involved someone telling a friend that a man called Tom Collins was speaking badly about them and was sat in another bar. The friend would then rush out in search of Tom Collins.

Jerry Thomas, a famous American mixologist, made a written reference to the cocktail in 1876 but others believe the cocktail was created as early as the 1790s by the barman John Collins at Limmer’s Hotel and Coffee Shop on Conduit Street London, England.

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Jessica Ransom
Senior Food Writer

Jessica is a freelance food writer, stylist and recipe tester. She previously worked as Senior Food Writer at Future. While at Future Jessica wrote food and drink-related news stories and features, curated product pages, reviewed equipment, and developed recipes that she then styled on food shoots. She is an enthusiastic, self-taught cook who adores eating out and sharing great food and drink with friends and family. She has completed the Level 1 Associate course at the Academy of Cheese and is continually building on her knowledge of beers, wines, and spirits.