Liquor Laboratory

10 Tom Collins Variations: Twists on the Classic Gin Cocktail

Tom Collins Variations

Last Updated on March 22, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Tom Collins is a classic cocktail with a refreshing zing loved by many. But as a mixologist, I’ve enjoyed putting spins on this classic cocktail.

A Tom Collins mix is probably what’s missing in your party preparation.

If you want to explore different Tom Collins variations, check out my top recommendations below.

Top 10 Tom Collins Variations & Cocktail Recipes

1. Raspberry Collins Cocktail 

Two Glasses of Raspberry Collins Cocktail and a Bowl of Raspberry

The Raspberry Collins is one of the refreshingly sweet and tangy Collins cocktails that delights the palate with a berry-licious flavor.

“Stirring up a Tom Collins stirs up cocktail legend.” – Liquor Laboratory

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Empress gin
  • 1oz lemon juice
  • 1oz raspberry syrup
  • Soda water (or grapefruit soda)
  • Fresh raspberries

Instructions: Shake gin, lemon juice, and raspberry syrup with ice. Strain into a Collins glass over ice, top with soda water, and top with fresh raspberries.

(Note: You can craft your own simple syrup, which can last for up to two weeks, as long as stored in a closed container, like a mason jar.)

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★★

2. Pear & Elderflower Collins Cocktail 

Bartender Making Pear Elderflower Collins Cocktail

Sweet pear and fragrant elderflower add a delightful twist to the classic Tom Collins recipe, making this variation a refined refreshment.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

Instructions: Combine gin, juices, and elderflower liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain into ice-filled Collins glasses, top with soda, and garnish with a pear slice.

Serving: 2

Star Rating:  ★★★★★

3. Cucumber & Rose Collins Cocktail 

Glass of Cucumber & Rose Collins Cocktail 

Refreshing with a floral hint, this Collins-style cocktail is perfect for garden parties and spring sipping.

Prep Time: 7 mins

Total Time: 7 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz gin
  • 1oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75oz rose syrup
  • cucumber slices
  • sparkling water

Instructions: Muddle cucumber slices with the juice and rose syrup. Add gin and ice, and shake well. Strain into a Collins glass filled with icicles, top with sparkling water, and garnish with a cucumber slice.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

4. Phil Collins Cocktail 

Glass of Phil Collins Cocktail 

Like Pierre Collins (Brandy Collins), the Phil Collins is one of my favorite Collins-style cocktails because of its gentle cinnamon warmth that perfectly complements those cooler evenings.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Hendrick’s gin
  • 1oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • Carbonated water
  • 1-dash cinnamon syrup
  • Lemon slice

Instructions: Combine gin, juice, simple syrup, and cinnamon syrup in a shaker with icicles. Shake, pour into a tall glass full of icicles, top with carbonated water [1], and garnish with a lemon slice.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

5. John Collins Cocktail 

Glass of John Collins Cocktail Granished with Lemon

A cousin of the classic Tom Collins cocktail, the John Collins features the signature Holland gin, giving a warmer, deeper flavor profile that any gin lover will find irresistible.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Holland gin (or Old Tom gin)
  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • Plain soda water
  • Maraschino cherry and orange slice

Instructions: In a shaker, combine gin, lime juice, and syrup over ice. Shake gently and pour over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Pour soda on top and garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

6. Mike Collins Cocktail 

Glass of Mike Collins Cocktail 

The Michael Collins cocktail is a nod to the Irish, with whiskey taking center stage, bringing a robust and hearty twist to the classic Collins recipe.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz Irish whiskey
  • 1oz lemon juice
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • Soda water
  • Lemon twist and cocktail cherry

Instructions: Mix Irish whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well, filter into a Collins glass over ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lemon twist and cocktail cherry.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

7. Joan Collins Cocktail 

Tom Collins with vodka is another thrilling mix you can add to your night party arsenal. Unlike Vodka Collins and Joe Collins, Joan Collins boasts a soft pink hue, which perfectly captures the quintessential lifestyle of Joan Collins.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lemon wedge
  • 2-slices cucumber
  • 2-fresh mint leaves
  • 2oz vodka
  • Carbonated water
  • 0.75oz honey-hibiscus syrup (or sugar syrup)
  • Cucumber or lemon wheel

Instructions: Muddle lemon, cucumber, and mint in a shaker. Pour syrup and vodka over fresh ice; shake vigorously. Strain in a tall glass, top with water, and garnish with cucumber or lemon wheel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

8. Rum Collins Cocktail 

Glass of Rum Collins Cocktail 

Substituting gin with light white rum, this refreshing cocktail gives a tropical take that will whisk you away to sandy beaches and sunny skies.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz white rum
  • 1oz lemon juice
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • Lime wheel

Instructions: Shake white rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup with icicles. Filter into a Collins glass full of fresh ice, pour soda on top, and garnish with a lime wheel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

9. Ron Collins Cocktail 

Glass of Ron Collins Cocktail with Lime

A Spanish twist on the classic Collins recipe, the Ron Collins uses aged rum for a deeper, more caramelized flavor that’s utterly sippable.

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz aged rum
  • 1oz lemon juice
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • Soda water
  • Lime wheel

Instructions: Shake aged rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into a Collins glass over ice, top with soda water, and garnish with a lime wheel.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

10. Bootsy Collins Cocktail

The Bootsy Collins is a Collins-style cocktail that uses vodka instead of gin [2], like the Vodka Collins and Joe Collins. The citrusy with a bittersweet edge taste of this modern Tom Collins is an ideal twist on the classic Tom Collins.

“Drinking a Tom Collins is like tasting history—one sip at a time.” – Dale DeGroff, American Bartender

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2oz vodka
  • 1oz lime juice
  • 1oz simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • 1-dash orange bitters
  • Orange slice

Instructions: Mix vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with icicles. Shake well and pour into an icicle-filled glass. Top with club soda and orange bitters, and garnish with an orange slice.

Serving: 1

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Fun Fact: Collins morphed from the 19th-century gin punch, which a man named Tom Collins is famous for. The first printed recipe appeared in the 1862 classic, “The Bartender’s Guide” by Jerry Thomas. 

Note: The overall enjoyment rating was determined during a blind taste and based on every cocktail’s flavor balance, aroma, smoothness, Tom Collins ingredients quality, and ABV.

FAQs Related to Tom Collins Variations

What is a Tom Collins?

A Tom Collins is a classic cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. It’s typically served over ice in a Collins glass and garnished with a lemon slice and cherry.

What are Tom Collins variations?

Tom Collins variations are creative twists on the classic cocktail that incorporate additional ingredients or flavors to create new and exciting drinks while still maintaining the base structure of the original recipe.

Can you provide examples of Tom Collins variations?

Some examples of Tom Collins variations include the Raspberry Collins (with muddled raspberries), Elderflower Collins (with elderflower liqueur), Peach Collins (with peach schnapps or purée), and Cucumber Collins (with muddled cucumber slices).

How can I make a Raspberry Collins?

To make a Raspberry Collins, muddle fresh raspberries in the bottom of a shaker, then add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake well with ice, strain into a Collins glass filled with ice, and top with club soda.

What ingredients are commonly used in Tom Collins variations?

Common ingredients used in Tom Collins variations include fresh fruits (such as berries, citrus, and stone fruits), flavored liqueurs (like elderflower, peach, or raspberry), herbs (such as mint or basil), and even spices or bitters for added complexity.

Key Takeaways

Whether you fancy the timeless charm of a traditional Tom Collins or yearn for something with a bit more flair, like a Raspberry Collins to the Bootsy Collins, there’s a variation for every palate.

Remember, the key to a great John Collins cocktail lies in the quality of ingredients and the love put into making it. So grab your shaker and explore these Tom Collins variations.

Note: Some variations that didn’t make the cut but are still recommendable are Juan Collins, Pepito Collins, and Pierre Collins (Brandy Collins).

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/carbonated-water
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/gin
  3. https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/the-tom-collins-is-a-seriously-classic-cocktail-but-its-origin-is-a-joke/
  4. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-tom-collins-got-its-name-2013-7
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