Tom Collins Made Simple: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide


The Tom Collins is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. With its refreshing blend of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and soda water, it’s the perfect drink for any occasion. Whether you’re sipping it on a sunny patio or enjoying it at a rooftop bar, the Tom Collins never fails to satisfy. In this article, we will guide you through a simple, step-by-step process to create the perfect Tom Collins at home.


To make a Tom Collins, you’ll need a few simple ingredients that you might already have in your pantry or bar cart. Here’s what you’ll need:

– 2 ounces of gin
– 1 ounce of lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon of sugar
– 4 to 6 ounces of soda water
– Ice cubes


Choosing the right gin for your Tom Collins is crucial. While any gin will technically work, we recommend opting for a London dry gin to ensure a balanced and crisp flavor. Some popular choices include Beefeater, Tanqueray, and Bombay Sapphire. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with flavored gins to add a unique twist to your drink.

Lemon Juice:

Freshly squeezed lemon juice is essential for the bright and zesty flavor of a Tom Collins. It’s worth taking the time to juice your lemons rather than using bottled lemon juice, as the fresh citrus taste makes all the difference. Aim for about 1 ounce of lemon juice per cocktail, which is usually equivalent to the juice of one lemon.


The sugar in a Tom Collins serves to balance the acidity of the lemon juice, giving the cocktail a pleasant sweetness. While granulated sugar works perfectly fine, some enthusiasts prefer using simple syrup to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved. To make a simple syrup, dissolve equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has completely melted. You can then let the syrup cool before using it in your cocktail.

Soda Water:

Soda water adds the effervescence and bubble that make a Tom Collins a refreshing delight. You can either use store-bought soda water or easily create your own with a soda maker or carbonation system. If you prefer a bubblier drink, opt for 6 ounces of soda water. If you want a stronger gin flavor, stick with 4 ounces.


Now that you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to mix up a delicious Tom Collins. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Prepare the Glass

Start by selecting a tall Collins glass, also known as a highball glass, for your cocktail. Fill the glass with ice cubes to chill it while you prepare the other ingredients. Cooling the glass beforehand will help keep your drink colder for longer.

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

In a cocktail shaker or mixing glass, combine the gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Shake or stir well to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved and the flavors are well combined. Some mixologists prefer shaking over stirring to create a frothy texture, but either method will work just fine.

Step 3: Strain into the Glass

Once your mixture is well combined, remove the ice from the Collins glass and strain the cocktail into it. You can use a Hawthorne strainer or a small kitchen strainer to ensure no ice or pulp ends up in the glass. The strained cocktail will be smooth and visually appealing.

Step 4: Add the Soda Water

To finish off your Tom Collins, top the glass with soda water, slowly pouring it over the back of a spoon to prevent excess fizz. Start with 4 to 6 ounces of soda water, depending on your preference. The soda water will add a lovely effervescence and dilution, balancing the flavors of the cocktail.

Step 5: Garnish and Serve

Now, it’s time to add the finishing touches to your Tom Collins. Popular garnishes include lemon slices, maraschino cherries, or even a sprig of fresh mint. Place your garnish on the rim of the glass or gently drop it into the cocktail. Serve your Tom Collins with a straw to enjoy every sip and enjoy!

The Tom Collins is a timeless classic that never goes out of style. With just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of technique, you can whip up this refreshing cocktail in no time. Whether you’re a gin aficionado or just looking for a tasty drink to enjoy with friends, the Tom Collins is sure to please. So gather your ingredients, follow our easy step-by-step guide, and raise your glass to a perfect homemade Tom Collins.

– “The Tom Collins Cocktail”, The Spruce Eats,
– “The Tom Collins Guide”, Gin Foundry,