The Cocktail Chronicles: Tom Collins

The Cocktail Chronicles: Tom Collins // The Speckled Palate

My first experience with gin is one that I cannot shake.

It was a dear friend’s bachelorette party, and we were moseying our way down Bourbon Street, knocking items off her bridal to-do list left and right. We had ended up at The Cat’s Meow and were awaiting our friend’s singing debut. (Which she kindly brought us all on stage for. And since I was tapped to sing at her wedding, I was given a microphone once the music started. … But that’s neither here nor there OR pertinent to this story, y’all.)

We’re standing in the back of The Cat’s Meow. We’re about halfway through our night, and this is the first place we all went and grabbed cocktails from the bar. One of my friends was drinking Gin and Tonic while I enjoyed an Amaretto Sour, my drink of choice as a 22-year-old. In our conversation, I revealed I’d never tried gin before, and she offered me a sip.

I took a big swig, then told her it tasted like a Christmas tree.

No joke. And I have stood by this assertion for years.

Given the choice, I’m not a gin drinker. But since we are drinking our way through this book, and — let’s face it — I’m going to have to try it again on several occasions, I put on my big girl face for this drink.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

The drink wasn’t overwhelmingly Christmas-sy, and it actually tasted like a sprightly lemonade on a summer’s day, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tom Collins
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1
  • 3 tablespoons gin
  • Juice of half a large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Soda Water
  1. Pour the gin and lemon juice into a frosted, tall glass half-filled with ice.
  2. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve
  3. Add roughly a measure and a half of soda, a slice of lemon, and a couple of straws to complete this cocktail.


The Cocktail Chronicles: Tom Collins // The Speckled Palate

Cocktail_WhatWeThoughtY’all, this drink is like booze-y lemonade. It’s tart, a little bit sweet, and has a nice, refreshing quality to it. Our only complaint was it needed just a little bit more sweetness to balance out the tartness of the lemon and the bitterness of the gin.


Four cheers! We recommend this drink. Not only was it delicious, but it was good enough for us to want to sip again… with a few slight moderations.

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  • MeganFebruary 22, 2013 - 11:45 am

    Ahh, Tom Collinses are my favorite summer drink! I am partial to gin in all seasons, but this particular lemonade-y concoction is just so refreshing.ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 5:42 pm

      Glad that you love these drinks as a summertime refresher. They might have just become my go-to hot weather drink. Now, if it would just warm up here so I could enjoy these on my patio, haha.ReplyCancel

  • EileenFebruary 22, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    This is why not to drink shots of gin–it does taste like fir balsam! Especially if you get a particularly juniper-y one, like Bombay Sapphire. But when you combine it with lemon and sugar, it’s perfection. I usually go for a gin sour, but Tom Collinses are classic for a reason too 🙂ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 5:46 pm

      Oh my. I cannot even FATHOM taking a shot of gin and feeling like I took a bite out of a Christmas tree. Ick. Agreed on combining gin with sugar and lemon, and it being just about perfect! I’ve never had a gin sour, but I think there’s a recipe for that in our drink book, so I will no doubt be trying your favorite drink sometime soon.ReplyCancel

  • mariaFebruary 22, 2013 - 4:38 pm

    I’m not a good drinker, I always have problems finding my “drink” but when you make them look so appetizing, I want to try it 🙂 good job!ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 5:47 pm

      I feel like I’m kind of the same way, Maria. I’m working on finding my drink, which is why we set off to do this project. Thanks! Hopefully, they’ll continue to be tasty AND appetizing as we continue with this project!ReplyCancel

  • NatalieFebruary 23, 2013 - 3:10 pm

    So funny because I tell everyone that gin tastes like Christmas Tree as well. Its just so PINE-NEEDLISH tasting, not that I eat pine needles or anything but yeah I can’t shake the flavour. I have had it in some berry drinks and it was drinkable.ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 5:58 pm

      Internet high-five, girl! It really is Christmas-sy! Good to know about gin being good in berry drinks. I’ll have to give those a shot. Have you had a Tom Collins? This one was delightful and nowhere near overwhelming with the pine taste.ReplyCancel

  • Amy TongFebruary 24, 2013 - 1:41 am

    I love gin and tonic! Yours looks so refreshing and making want one right now. 🙂 I have a Yuzu Gin and Tonic recipe on my blog and loved it. Truly refreshing. It’s funny that your first thought of the drink associated with a Christmas tree. 🙂 Hm…I wonder what kind of gin the bar used on your drink! 😛ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 6:00 pm

      That’s a good question, Amy, because I have wondered the same thing. I’ve tasted gin since… and it hasn’t been nearly as pine-needle-y as that first drink that made such an impression. 😉 And I’m gonna have to look up your Yuzu Gin and Tonic recipe because that sounds like it could be interesting! Here’s to learning to like gin and the various ways of mixing it into cocktails!ReplyCancel

  • JayneFebruary 24, 2013 - 8:32 pm

    I don’t take alcohol but I had to comment. When I first saw your title, I thought I read “The Cockroach Chronicles”! Had me in stitches for a while when I realized my error. 😛ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 6:01 pm

      That is TOO FUNNY… and also kind of horrifying! Thankful we’re drinking cocktails and not roaches. *cringe* 😉ReplyCancel

  • Gina @ So Lets Hang OutFebruary 26, 2013 - 11:55 am

    Yum! I love a Tom Colins… It’s kind of like Gin’s answer to the Whiskey Sour. Can’t get mad at that.ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 6:02 pm

      True story, girl… though I cannot confirm or deny your statement, as I’ve never tasted a Whiskey Sour. Perhaps this is the next drink we try from the book, assuming it’s in the book? I think so…ReplyCancel

  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and VeggiesFebruary 26, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    I also tried a gin and tonic (though, a liiiiiitle younger than 22) and have thought ever since that gin = Christmas trees. Maybe it’s something about a gin and tonic that makes it extra Christmas-y? It’s supposed to snow a lot tonight, maybe I’ll venture out and get some gin so I can pretend it’s summer time.ReplyCancel

    • ErinFebruary 26, 2013 - 6:19 pm

      Hehe. Glad that you’re a member of the Christmas Tree Gin Club, too. (I feel like this should be a thing since there are so many people who apparently feel the same way as us.)

      Good luck dealing with the snow, and I hope that you do venture out to get the ingredients for this drink to have a little slice of summer while it snows. I cannot even imagine. Yikes.ReplyCancel

  • […] I have no doubt we’ll get back in the swing of things as the summer heats up. (Side note: The Tom Collins is my ABSOLUTE favorite summer drink so far, and it makes me so happy, and I want to drink it on […]ReplyCancel

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