Beat the heat this summer with a Tom Collins! This classic gin cocktail features freshly squeezed lemon juice, bubbly club soda and just a splash of simple syrup to sweeten things to your liking. Serve it properly with lemon slices and cocktail cherries to get the full experience.

Cherries and lemons garnish several glasses of tom collins.

Tom Collins

Tom collins is a classic gin cocktail that your grandparents probably loved… and their parents before them! It was first concocted in 1876, or at least that’s when record of it was first published in The Bartender’s Guide. So when I refer to this recipe as a bonafide all-American classic, I mean it! And trust me, there’s a few good reasons why it has the longevity it has.

First off, the beauty of a proper tom collins lies within its simplicity. Gin, club soda and lemon juice – that’s all you need to make this recipe! They apparently didn’t rely on too much fluff back in the 1800’s when it came do drinking. Honestly, I really love a simple cocktail recipe like this. It takes all of the unnecessary stuff out of the way and delivers delicious results with minimal hassle.

Sipping on a tom collins on a hot summer evening is an American experience that’s truly just splendid in nature! When made just right, a tom collins is bubbly, zesty, and slightly sweet. With that being said, you can always add more or less simple syrup to create your perfect level of sweet flavor. Consider this to be a grown up lemonade, but with bubbles!

Club soda is being poured into a glass.

How to Make a Tom Collins

Take a quick look at how easy it is to make your new favorite gin cocktail recipe! For a full list of ingredient measurements and step by step instructions, just scroll down to the recipe card below.

  1. Measure. Measure all of your ingredients and pour them into a glass.
  2. Stir. Add ice to the glass. Top with club soda and give it a stir.
  3. Garnish. Add some cocktail cherries and lemon slices to the glass. Serve immediately and enjoy. Cheers!
A spoon is placing ingredients in a glass.

Ingredient Notes

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make a proper tom collins cocktail:

  • Gin – Try to use a good quality gin. The flavor is pretty pronounced, so which bottle you choose does matter. It also has an aromatic quality to it. So, if you choose a super cheap gin, both the flavor and aroma of the cocktail will be affected (and you’ll probably get a headache). London dry gin like Tanqueray or Bombay work wonderfully.
  • Lemon Juice – For the BEST flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice only! I’ve tried this recipe with bottled lemon juice and you can absolutely taste the difference. Plus, you’ll want some lemon slices for garnishing.
  • Simple Syrup – I highly recommend making your own simple syrup. All you need is sugar and water, making it far less expensive than the store-bought stuff. Add more or less to your cocktail to determine the amount of desired sweetness. You could switch up the flavor profile just a little bit with honey simple syrup or lavender simple syrup if you’d like to get creative.
  • Club Soda – And brand works well, so just use your favorite. Seltzer is also a fine option. The goal is to add bubbles and tame the gin a little bit.

Do I shake or stir a tom collins?

Stir it! Do not shake a tom collins! Since you’re making this drink with club soda, you want to grab a cocktail spoon and set aside the shaker. If you shake it, you’ll end up with flat bubbles.

Two cherries are placed on top of a glass.

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Blueberries and lemons garnish several glasses of tom collins.

Get the Recipe: Tom Collins Recipe

he Tom Collins is a classic gin sour lengthened with club soda. It's bright, citrusy, and fizzy with the perfect balance of sweet and tart
5 from 1 vote


  • 2 ounces dry gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Club soda, to top
  • Garnish: lemon wheel
  • Garnish: maraschino cherry


  • 1 Collins glass


  • Add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to a tall glass.
  • Fill with ice, top with club soda and stir.
  • Garnish with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry.
Calories: 175kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 39mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg