The John Collins Recipe

Posted in Bourbon on March 2, 2014

john collins

The John Collins cocktail is believed to have been invented in 1860s by a head waiter in London with the same name. Nowadays there are numerous cocktails in the Collins family and the most famous one is Tom Collins. However, the history of the John Collins and the Tom Collins mix together and no one can tell for sure nowadays which was first and how one evolved into the other. Simply said, the Tom Collins is gin based while the John Collins is whiskey based. However, back in 1869 the recipe for John Collins which appeared in the Steward and Barkeeper’s Manual mentioned the use of Old Tom gin.


Nowadays it is commonly agreed that the Tom Collins uses gin (preferably Old Tom) and the John Collins is made with bourbon whiskey. There is also a Vodka Collins which is obviously vodka-based and a Juan Collins which is tequila-based. Otherwise said, there are different Collins drinks, each one with a different base. They can be prepared in the exact same manner, just that the base is replaced with whatever you like. Once you learn one recipe, you can make them all. This is why it is very useful to know how to prepare John Collins at home. You can always do the other Collins cocktails and surprise your guests with a multitude of options.


This cocktail has a sour and refreshing taste which makes it the perfect drink for hot summer nights. It can be compared with a Whiskey Sour, but it is the taller version of this cocktail because it also has club soda. This makes it lighter and more refreshing than the original Whiskey Sour.


How to Prepare a John Collins


You need the following ingredients:


  • 1 ½ oz. of bourbon whiskey.
  • 1 oz. of lemon juice.
  • ½ oz. sugar syrup.
  • Club soda.
  • A maraschino cherry and an orange slice for garnish.


Put some ice cubes in a Collins glass and then add the bourbon, the lemon juice and the sugar syrup. Stir until all the ingredients mix together and then top with club soda. Use the maraschino cherry and the orange slice for garnish.


The recipe can be adapted to any of the Collins cocktails you want to make.


Some people prefer to replace the lemon juice and sugar syrup with a fresh or bottled sour mix. However, bottled sour mix is often made with artificial sweeteners, so you might want to do your fresh one at home.


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