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Tom Collins Recipe

Happy Hour: Tom Collins

In a memorable scene from season two of Mad Men, Don Draper instructs his 6-year-old daughter, Sally, how to prepare a Tom Collins for guests.

This gin sour drink, first created in the late 1800s, was a popular Summer sipper in the '50s and '60s, when it was known as "the king of cooling drinks." While it's currently fallen out of favor, perhaps the scene suggests that it's time to bring back this maraschino-topped crowd-pleaser.

Get the classic recipe.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins Cocktail


2 ounces gin
Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
4 ounces cold club soda
Slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry


  1. Shake gin, lemon juice, and sugar with ice, then pour into a chilled collins glass filled with ice.
  2. Add club soda and garnish with lemon slice and maraschino cherry.

Makes 1 cocktail.

Photos: Nancy Einhart

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paanta paanta 8 years
Secret additional ingredient: Angostura Bitters
crystalm07 crystalm07 8 years
This sounds good except I hate gin...but I might like a vodka version!
nancita nancita 8 years
This was one of my first go-to cocktails. It's a bit sweet for me now, but it is definitely a refreshing Summer sipper.
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
I'm single, but maybe I could adopt a kid and teach him or her to bartend for me. Plus then I'd be eligible for a child tax credit. It's win-win! :D
peachesmel9 peachesmel9 8 years
I LOVE Tom Collins drinks, but unfortunately no bartenders seem to know how to make them. Consistently I would be asked by the bartender how to make the drink I ordered, so I eventually just gave up. Maybe appearing on Mad Men will bring them back?
cmill38 cmill38 8 years
i've had tom collins with soda and with tonic as well keiren. just out of curiosity but is tonic more commonly ordered with other mixed drinks leaving soda not avaliable in some bars? i don't know the answer, it's just a thought.
keiren63 keiren63 8 years
When I worked in bars, we made them with tonic water.
Angelica Angelica 8 years
Thanks party! I love this show too and I've never had a Tom Collins.
sparklemeetspop sparklemeetspop 8 years
I get these all the time. They're really light and someone told me they have fewer calories than your standard mixed drink.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 8 years
I've known people my age to drink vodka collins. They are yummy too.
Community-Manager Community-Manager 8 years
I love this show, Yum! Thanks for the recipe as well!
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