‘Knock Knock” Who’s there? Summer! Summer who?

“Summer one better get me a drink.”


Just made that one up on the spot – Sometimes I underestimate my ability for comic genius. In saying that, I have been drinking a lot of Tom Collins today so who knows.

With summer approaching, I thought it time to add a tall thirst quencher to our repertoire of classic cocktails and what better drink than one inspired by a joke as lame as the one that started this post! : )

That’s right, back in 1874 people were running riot with what was called “The Tom Collins Hoax” (wait for it, it’s a real doozy) This is how it went down: A man would approach a friend asking if he knew Tom Collins, when his friend did not he would reply with “Perhaps you had better do so, and as quick as you can, for he is talking about you in a very rough manner — calling you hard names, and convincing people there is nothing you wouldn’t steal short of a red-hot stove.” The friend would of course storm out looking for this Tom Collins character, only to find he didn’t exist!


While this was all getting mega LOL’s around New York and Philidelphia an opportunistic barman created the Tom Collins drink. This way, the next patron who stormed in asking for Tom Collins would simply be served his new cocktail creation. Pretty genius really!

Unfortunately, as much as I love this story it doesn’t seem to be the only one claiming origin to this drink. There’s something about a Jim Collins stealing it from a Stephen Price and something else about it being a class of drink first, blah, blah, blah. All pretty boring stuff, so I’m gonna stick to the hoax story because it goes best with my “knock knock” opener.


The story may very well be confusing, but the recipe couldnt be simpler. In fact the original recipe straight from the ‘The Bartender’s Guide,’ by Jerry Thomas. (1876) went a little something like this:

Take 5 or 6 dashes of gum syrup (sugar syrup)

Juice of a small lemon

1 large wine-glass of gin

2 or 3 lumps of ice

Shake up well and strain into a large bar-glass. Fill up the glass with plain soda water and drink whilst it’s lively.

140 years later, the recipe is much the same – Boy, do I wish we still lived in a time where gin was measured in wine glasses! Sheesh!

We decided to put a slight citrus spin on ours by mixing in a little clementine juice. Not only will this add a little more sweetness, but it will bring out the flavors in the Clemengold Gin – If you can get your hands on this stuff it’s pretty incredible!


The method is really as simple as the recipe.

Fill up your cocktail shaker with ice, add 1 teaspoon (or cube) of sugar. Add 2 parts gin to 1 part lemon and 1 part clementine juice. When you can always use freshly squeezed juices in your drinks, it really makes all the difference.

Shake all those bad boys together to ensure the sugar is dissolved and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top up with Soda water (Club Soda for our American friends) and serve with a twist. with a clementine wheel and lemon wedge. Or lemon wheel and clementine

We decided to garnish ours with a clementine wheel and lemon wedge – yeah we’re pretty fancy that way but you can use a lemon wheel and clementine wedge if you prefer. Or 2 wedges. Or 2 wheels. Pretty much whatever you want really.



Try and refrain from drinking these after dark. No, they won’t go all Gremlin on you, but when the sun goes down, so should the size of your glass. This drink is best enjoyed in the sun with friends, or even in the sun with no friends. Just make sure the sun’s up!

Bottoms up and stay fancy.

4 thoughts on “WMBW Drinks – Tom Collins

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