Tom Collins recipe: How to make a Tom Collins – and some fruity variations to try

Tom Collins’s origins began in 1876 when it was described by Jerry Thomas, “the father of American mixology”, as a “gin and sparkling lemonade” drink. The cokcktail is typically served in a Collins glass over ice, and garnished with a slice of lemon – although can also have a glace cherry on top.

How to make a Tom Collins


  • 50ml gin
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 25ml sugar syrup
  • 125ml chilled soda water
  • 1 Earl Grey teabag


To make your sugar syrup, simply dissolve 300g caster sugar in 150ml water over a low heat. Leave to cool.

Build the drink over plenty of ice in a Collins glass.

Stir gently and garnish with a slice of lemon


  • Summer cocktail recipes: Six simple and delicious cocktails

A “Collins mix” can also be bought premixed at stores and enjoyed alone as a soft drink or with gin.

But if this simple Collins cocktail isn’t inspiring you, why not try a fruitier variation.

A Summer Collins is a two-ingredient cocktail consisting only of equal parts gin and lemonade, served over ice with an optional fruit garnish.

While the vodka Collins uses vodka in place of gin.

Or why not try the South Side, which uses limeade in place of lemonade and adds mint.

The Elderflower and Early Grey Collins comes from bottlegreen in collaboration with the UK’s leading cocktail expert and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch regular host, Pritesh Mody.

Cordial brand bottlegreen says: “A beautiful fragrant serve which epitomises summer in a glass with the rich flavour of handpicked elderflower complimenting the elegant notes of Earl Grey tea. The perfect accompaniment to any British summer occasion.”


  • 50ml Gin (Tanqueray 10 or Caorunn works well as they both have fresh notes)
  • 35ml bottlegreen Elderflower Cordial
  • 25ml Lemon Juice
  • 75ml Soda or Sparkling Water


Pour all ingredients except for the soda water into an ice filled shaker and shake before pouring into an iced filled glass.

Top with the soda water and then place the teabag into the glass.

Stir the teabag round 5 times so you can see the tea infusing with the cocktail.

Raspberry Collins

Raspberries give this twist on the classic Collins a pretty splash of colour.

Start by gently muddling a handful of raspberries in the bottom of an empty Collins glass, then add the ice, all the other ingredients and mix well with a long-handled spoon. Garnish with an orange slice.

Brandy Collins

This is a really refreshing way to enjoy cognac. For best results, use a young-ish VS or VSOP cognac that’s nice and fruity.

Just make the drink as normal, substituting cognac for gin, then garnish with a slice of ginger or a ribbon of lemon peel.

Elderflower Collins

Elderflower and lemon is a winning combination. You can make it with elderflower cordial or liqueur for something a touch more boozy.

Mix the drink as normal, but use the liqueur or cordial in place of the sugar syrup. Garnish with a lemon slice.

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