Cocktail Kingdom Library (home)

collins (Tom Collins/John Collins)

spirit, sugar, lemon juice and carbonated water

The roots of the collins was a gin punch served in a London coffee house by 1834, by bar manager John Collin. The refreshing “Collin’s punch”, made with gin, was later popularized in Australia, Canada and America in the 1860s in both genever (John Collins) and tom gin (Tom Collins) forms before spawning other variations with other spirits.

Shown, above, is the collins section of the 1876 edition of Jerry Thomas’ book. By this point, the “Tom Collins Gin” was variably made with English old tom gin or the more common Dutch genever. Both are delicious. The collins is a large, long, cold drink, calling for a big bar glass.


Build in a bar glass:

  • 2 bar spoons superfine sugar
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice

Stir to dissolve.


  • 2 oz old tom gin or genever (or the spirit of your choice)

Fill with ice.

Fill with 3–4 oz chilled soda water.

Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails, p. 188–9; barware icons courtesy of Haus Alpenz