Tom Collins

You've probably heard of a Tom Collins. It's a great summertime drink - fizzy lemonade for grown ups. There are a few stories about how this cocktail got it's name, but we particularly love the one called "The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874". This seems to be a case of fake news going viral more than a century before we had the internet. Go to Mental Floss to read the full story.

Prior to doing some Googling, we had a mental picture of Tom Collins as a old sailor or fisherman (maybe you have figured this out from our original artwork). We could see him coming back thirsty from a day on the water and enjoying a nice cool lemon and gin drink with his lobster roll.

A Tom Collins is an excellent choice as the cocktail for a picnic or barbecue. It's served on the rocks with club soda, so it's cool, refreshing, and offers much less alcohol per sip than a martini. Our version sticks to the traditional recipe - perhaps with a bit more lemon juice and the addition of lavender.

Why lavender? Well, because a couple of years ago we harvested some culinary lavender and started adding it to our home-made baked goods. We found that lavender paired really well with lemon. When we saw lavender bitters in our local liquor store it just seemed like a good idea to try adding them to a lemony cocktail. We (and some of our independent taste testers) were pretty happy with the results, so we've continued to add lavender to our Tom Collins - either as bitters or by replacing the plain simple syrup with lavender syrup.

You can make purchase lavender simple syrup pre-made or make it yourself using dried culinary lavender buds (see our recipe for the syrup below). If you use lavender syrup, use a dash of aromatic bitters in place of the lavender bitters. You can also experiment with other simple syrups or muddled herbs (thyme is nice). Just don't use any of that nasty pre-made Collins mix - Tom would be very unhappy about that!


Tom Collins

2 ounces gin
1 3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup (or lavender syrup - see recipe below)
several dashes of lavender bitters (use aromatic bitters if using lavender syrup)
2 ounces club soda

Add gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a glass. Add ice cubes and club soda. Stir lightly. Garnish with a lemon slice (and a maraschino cherry).

Tom Collins with lavender simple syrup - one of us prefers gin and the other vodka 

Tom Collins out for a sail

Tom Collins ingredients

Lavender Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender buds

In a small saucepan boil water and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add lavender and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pour through a strainer to remove lavender buds. Funnel into a bottle and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Dried culinary lavender 

Making the lavender simple syrup

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