Special Issues » Drink

Remix: The Tom Collins

A fresh take on a classic American cocktail

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JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG
  • 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.

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