Having spent a happy hour or so – I forget how long it was, exactly – exploring the wonders of the gimlet, I picked up on the interesting variation of the Tom Collins. Unfortunately, I lack one crucial ingredient so I’m afraid I’ve had to write this one dry – unless I get to visit a superior cocktail bar and sample one made properly.
The Tom Collins is made in a tall glass using three parts Old Tom gin, two parts lemon juice, one part sugar syrup and four parts carbonated water over ice. As you can see, it is very similar in style to a gimlet with the exception of Old Tom gin. This is the one ingredient I don’t have, and it’s not really a Tom Collins without it. Perhaps a Jackie Collins, especially if accompanied by a trashy novel.
Anyway, I digress. Old Tom gin is a very particular kind of gin, which has been aged and sweetened so that it falls somewhere between a London dry gin (say, Gordons) and a jonge genever, one of the two traditional Dutch gins which seem to be making something of a comeback in cocktail circles. I expect it’s quite a sweet drink (since the gin is sweetened and sugar syrup is included) but the lemon juice cuts through the syrup and adds a nice tartness.
I think this is a summer drink – by which time I may have got my hands on a bottle of Old Tom and will be able to find out for myself!