Remix: The Tom Collins

A fresh take on a classic American cocktail

Remix: The Tom Collins
Jessica Bryce Young

It's been around since the 1800s, and in its original form, the Tom Collins is still the ultimate summer cocktail: astringent gin, tart fresh citrus, a touch of sugar and icy fizzy water – perfection. But its status as a classic has doomed it to be a speed-rail special, meaning most noob drinkers' first taste of a Tom Collins involves cheap gin, ghastly pre-made sour mix (sickly-sweet and acidic enough to raise blisters) and a shot of soda out of the disgusting bar gun. Not exactly a formula for continued popularity.

With this Remix, I wanted not just to restore a classic to its proper place (do give the original recipe a try), but also to create a new version that's equally summer-friendly. In hot, sticky weather, simplicity is key, so the Rosy Collins has no obscure liqueurs, no special syrups, no cooking or muddling or chopping. Simply subbing a half-and-half mix of Campari and Hendricks gin for the usual Tanqueray-or-whatever gives an herbal freshness, a more rounded flavor and a rosy-cheeked hue that's perfectly summery.

classic: Tom Collins

• 2 ounces dry gin

• 1 teaspoon sugar

• 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

• club soda or seltzer

Combine gin, sugar and lemon juice in a tall glass and mix until sugar dissolves. Fill glass three-quarters full with cracked ice and top with club soda or seltzer. Garnish with lemon slice and cherry.

remixed: Rosy Collins

• 4 ounces chilled seltzer or club soda

• 1 ounce Hendricks gin *

• 1 ounce Campari

• 3/4 ounce simple syrup **

• 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

Pour the seltzer into a chilled highball glass filled with ice and set aside. Pour the gin, Campari, simple syrup and lemon juice into a shaker, fill it with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into the seltzer-filled glass.

* Note: Hendricks is a small-batch gin infused with rose petals and cucumber, giving it a softer, sweeter taste – not quite as dry and astringent as a classic, juniper-heavy London dry gin like Tanqueray.

** Note: By now you should be keeping a bottle of this around, but if you're new to the column: Combine equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan, boil until sugar dissolves, then take off heat. Store in a jar in the fridge basically forever.

Jessica Bryce Young

Jessica Bryce Young has been working with Orlando Weekly since 2003, serving as copy editor, dining editor and arts editor before becoming editor in chief in 2016.
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