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Collinses

Christy Grosz

The Collins is another classic with a somewhat confusing past. The original cocktail was named for its creator, John Collins, who was a bartender in a London hotel in the early 1800s. His recipe, which combines dry gin, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda, is identical to a fizz, except that it is served in a tall Collins-style glass with a garnish of an orange wheel and a cherry. The Collins is also closely tied to the sour but includes club soda, a new addition to the barkeeper’s repertoire in the late 19th century.

Somewhere along the way, near the end of the century, Old Tom–style gin, a lightly sweetened spirit, was substituted for dry gin, and the drink became known as a Tom Collins to distinguish the two recipes. Although Old Tom disappeared from the market during the 20th century, the British distiller Hayman’s reintroduced its original recipe a few years ago.

Learning to perfect a classic like the Collins is a great way to build skills as a home bartender, even if Old Tom is difficult to find, according to Albert. "Start re-creating some classic cocktails and discover why they are balanced by tasting them and making them," she says. "And begin a library at home that includes classic cocktail books and ones that are out on the market currently and start studying."

CLASSIC COLLINS
By Chandra Lam
2 oz. Old Tom–style gin or spirit of choice
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1–2 tsp. superfine sugar

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top off with club soda, stir, and serve. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a cocktail cherry.

TAPATIO ROJO
By Michael Trujillo
11/2 oz. 100% agave unaged tequila
1/2 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
2 oz. hibiscus tea
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. agave nectar

Stir all ingredients together in an ice-filled Collins glass and serve with a splash of ginger ale. Garnish with lemon and lime wheels.

CONTEMPORARY COLLINS
By Francesco Lafranconi
2 oz. soju
1 oz. Aperol aperitivo liqueur
1/2 oz. yuzu juice
1/2 oz. agave nectar
2 halved strawberries
2 halved lemon wedges
Fever Tree bitter lemon soda

Squeeze lemon wedges into a Collins glass and drop in to garnish. Pour the rest of the ingredients into glass and fill with ice. Stir well and serve.

RECOMMENDED SPIRITS:
El Tesoro Plata Tequila
Tequila Ocho Single Estate Plata Tequila
Ty Ku Soju

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