The Tom Collins - A Classic Cocktail

Preparation for moving continues. A rented storage facility is almost full (I can’t even tell you with what!), furniture has been given away or is dedicated to being handed down to my girls once a deal is made and this home is spotless and cleared of clutter. Clutter mostly being inventory from my online shop that I closed down in 2010 after an injury; what to do with those goods remains an issue but one I’ve relegated to the back burner in this effort so everything has been inventoried and packed and moved to storage. Carpets are freshly cleaned and all cabinets, doors and woodwork have been touched up with a fresh coat of paint. My daughter scrubbed the white grout in both of my bathrooms with tile floors with a toothbrush and baking soda and that’s a trick you should file away. Bright white again and freshly sealed. We’ve even had nice enough weather to do some yard work and completely clean out and hose down the garage.

What hasn’t happened much during this enormous effort has been regular blog posts. Sandwiches, salads and soups are the meal plan if we’re lucky but we’ve certainly had more fast food than I care to acknowledge. Finding the time to craft a new cocktail is just not happening on a regular schedule but I had the urge last night for a favorite and though it has a long history, thought it worth mentioning here. Rediscovering a classic cocktail is as much fun sometimes as making a new one and I just love a Tom Collins. It’s a true classic; I saw someone once refer to it as ‘the little black dress’ of cocktails and that’s a most fitting description; you can never go wrong serving this drink.


Maybe part of the reason is that it’s easy. Made from gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water; those are ingredients I always have on hand. The Tom Collins was first memorialized in writing in 1876 by “the father of American mixology” Jerry Thomas, as this “gin and sparkling lemonade” drink typically served in a Collins glass over ice. I’m hoping to have some friends over to watch the game…well, to chat and drink and eat great food at least, and I’m not much of a beer drinker so while I will have some on hand, this is the cocktail I’ll plan to serve to my guests. Not pretentious or difficult to make, it’s a perfect cocktail to match with the wide array of foods served on game day…or any day for that matter!

Though I would expect more often categorized as a cocktail for summer; I like it for a get together when a mix of appetizers will be served, especially knowing many of them have a tendency to be spicy…it’s a perfect compliment to hot wings, nachos and dips. Served in a tall glass with straws, it refreshing., easy and versatile…so don’t forget it when summer rolls around too!

You might notice a blue and orange theme…the Broncos came SO close this year. We were most fortunate to see a man like Peyton Manning lead our team; not just talented but a thoroughly good and humble man. Britton Colquitt and his wife Nikki live two doors from me with their young son Nash; not only is he the best punter the Broncos have ever had but again, I’m impressed by his demeanor. A genuinely sweet and charming young man; he and his family have been a nice addition to the neighborhood and I just love to hear how much he respects the Broncos coach, John Fox…that says a lot about a man too. I wanted them to win, sure, but the Broncos are my team and blue and orange are their colors so I’m staying bitter loyal to the very end!

By the way, just to make sure it was as good as I remembered I tested it again today; well, actually I’m sipping it RIGHT NOW! You should join me!

The Tom Collins – A Classic Cocktail for Super Bowl Sunday

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 cocktails

The Tom Collins – A Classic Cocktail for Super Bowl Sunday


  • 4 ounces gin (I used Martin Miller's London Dry Gin)
  • 1-2 oz lemon juice depending on personal taste
  • 2 tsp simple syrup (combine equal parts water and sugar; bring to boil until sugar melts, remove from heat and cool)
  • Club soda or seltzer water, chilled
  • Maraschino cherry, lemon and orange slices for garnish


  1. Fill your Collins glasses with ice and fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice.
  2. Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker and shake until cold.
  3. Strain the cocktail ingredients into the ice filled glasses.
  4. Top off the cocktail with club soda or seltzer, and garnish with lemon and/or orange wheels and a maraschino cherry.
  5. Serve with tall straws.


Though not at all typical, I decided to squeeze a bit of fresh orange juice into mine since I had sliced the orange for garnish. I can not deny...I liked it!