The beautiful simplicity of the Tom Collins recipe—gin, sugar, lemon juice and club soda—makes it hard to believe that someone had to actually convince the rest of us to give it a try. It’s the perfect drink for a hot summer afternoon.
But the British bartender John Collin popularized the recipe in the early 19th century. Yes, it was originally called a John Collins but over time morphed and became known as a Tom Collins. It’s a good story full of odd twists and turns, and is the subject of the new episode of podcast Life Behind Bars.
Hosts Noah Rothbaum and David Wondrich go all the way back to 1820s London when the drink was the signature of Limmer’s Hotel and follow its meteoric rise to become an East Coast country club favorite. They also share their personal recipes for the cocktail.
So mix yourself a refreshing Tom Collins and start listening to the episode now.
Life Behind Bars features Half Full’s editor Noah Rothbaum and its Senior Drinks Columnist David Wondrich as they discuss the greatest bartenders and greatest cocktails of all time. Edited by Alex Skjong
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