Next in my list of classic cocktails is the Tom Collins.
But who is this Tom Collins?
Wikipedia links the name with an obscure hoax in 1870’s New York, but that strikes me as more than slightly dubious.
Another theory I’ve come across is that it’s a variation on the bourbon based John Collins cocktail, but made with Old Tom gin. (That doesn’t explain who John Collins was though…)
I did recently try Old Tom gin and it’s very good in martinis, being slightly sweet, which works nicely with the vermouth. However, when I tried to buy some for this cocktail, all of the shops were temporarily out of stock. (I’ll just have to try the Tom Collins again once I’ve got hold of some.)
I have been able to obtain some sugar syrup though, once the nice lady at the off-licence explained it was sold as “Sirope de Gomme”, which is French for “sugar syrup”
2 measures gin
1 measure lemon juice/juice of half a lemon
3/4 measure sugar syrup/sirope de gomme
5 measures soda water
Add all ingredients to a tall glass filled with ice and stir.
I must confess to thinking, prior to making this, that it might be an excessively fiddly way of making gin and lemonade.
I’m pleased to say that it’s not. It’s less sweet than lemonade, with the sugar syrup only slightly mitigating the bite of the lemon. I found it to be a refreshing alternative to that old stand-by, the gin and tonic, and I’d happily try it again.