A Collins is a cocktail with a classic sour base but that is fizzed up using soda water. There are numerous tales on the origins of the cocktail name, but the most popular account is about a mischievous character known as Tom Collins, who hung around taverns in the US in the late 19th century. The guests were told that a man called Tom Collins was sitting in another bar talking harshly about them. In a rage, some of them stormed off to find the rascal and take him to task. The name is not to be confused with Montgomery Collins, the forefather of the Monkey 47 recipe, who would never partake in such gossiping.
This classic cocktail was first published in Jerry Thomas's "The Bartender's Guide" of 1876 and was named after the imaginary scandalmonger and barfly Tom Collins. Historians, however, suspect that the name comes from Old Tom Gin, a sweet spirit made from pot-distilled corn and juniper that lost its foothold to London Dry Gin. So how is it made? According to Jerry Thomas, stir 5 cl Dry Gin, 3 cl lemon juice and 2 cl simple syrup on the rocks in a long drink glass and top it up with soda water. Garnish with an orange twist and voilà!