Articles Tagged: Tom Collins

Gin Reviews

Gilbey’s Lemon Gin Collins


I know it’s not technically something specific to Canada. So, no Canada, I’m not holding you solely responsible for this. But I was impressed by how common Gilbey’s Lemon Gin Collins drink was. I had never seen it before this trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. And it was in every single liquor store. Even the ones that had only three gins on the shelf: It was Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater and this. Diageo Canada is on to something I guess. So clearly something is going on that this is popular enough to be everywhere. I thought, since I hadn’t seen it, and wasn’t sure where I would find it again, that I might as well give it a write up while I’m writing up some of the other more Canadian Gins.


In <100 Words

Take one of the world’s biggest inexpensive gin brands and cut out the work of mixing and just throw it in the bottle. There’s a not a lot of story here as this is pretty much exactly what you expect. The ingredients are “water” [cut down on the burn, make it easier to drink], sugar [again, to make it more like a Collins], Natural flavors [are you ever going to mention lemon?], Citric Acid [so it feels like Lemon?] and color.

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Gin Reviews

Downslope Ould Tom Citrus Flavored Gin

downslope closeup

A little late to our Colorado Gin tasting party, but no less interesting, this is the second Old Tom style gin that we’ve reviewed. The first being Spring 44’s rather excellent offering.

The picture above doesn’t do it justice. I tried to capture the bottle against the backdrop of where I do my reviews. That’s not Colorado, that’s Astoria, NY. And that little silhouette on the upper right? A Colorado Proud sticker. Yet another distiller that’s proud to be a part of the incredible distilling culture in that state.

Let’s get to the gin. An interesting note to pay attention to before you even get to the tasting is the base. It’s not grain, it’s cane. Yep, like a Rum. This makes it a sort of rarity among gins before we even actually get to the notes.

Riding Downslope of Flavor and the Nose

The nose is bright, a touch malty actually. You get a hint of dry grassy field in here as well as a touch of malted grain. There’s a bright citrus note as well, fresh and orange with a touch of lemon. Kind of interesting, the creamy warmth is certainly Old Tom like, but that touch of grass/grain isn’t.

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Jello Shots with Gin: The Bees Knees Jelly Shot

For those of you who can’t get enough gelatin in their gin, we’re back with another post and another type of “Jelly Shot.” Today we take a look at a slight variation on the Tom Collins: the Bees Knees. There’s many cocktails that have different names with only a change in one ingredient. If you swap the sugar/simple syrup in a Tom Collins for honey, then you have the Bees Knees.

These are slightly sweeter, and have a warmer mouth feel. Honey doesn’t just sweeten, but it adds a little richness. While the cocktail is vastly different due to the change of one ingredient, the Jello shots are slightly different. But definitely more robust.

Again special thanks to my friend Laura who so kindly made the shots [which were excellent] and documented the process with precision [also excellent].

Bees Knees Jello Shot

    2/3 cup lemon syrup 1/3 cup honey (water) (gelatin) 2/3 cup gin [and again, we used Pinckney Bend for our jello shots]


Ingredients of Bees Knees shots: Lemon syrup (still not salsa), honey (shown twice because I measured it before I took this picture), gin, gelatin, cookbook.


Adding a little food coloring so you can tell the Bees Knees and Tom Collins shots apart.

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Jello Shots with Gin: Tom Collins Jelly Shot

Not too long ago, as a coda to the summer long celebration of gin that David and I called “50 States of Gin,” I held a little “get together” among friends to enjoy some of the great craft gins that had taken over my kitchen. The gin wife is kind and loving, but she will only tolerate 60+ bottles of gin for so long. So reviews having been written, there was only one way to properly pay homage to great American distilling. Spread the word!

My friend Laura helped me out in this celebration of craft gin by creating three different kinds of Jello shots. She was so kind as to share me pictures of the process and the recipes so you too can enjoy the wiggling, jiggling taste of gin and jello together once again.

For the record, we made the shots with Pinckney Bend Gin.

The ingredients of Tom Collins Jelly Shots: Lemon Syrup (stored in an empty salsa jar; there’s no salsa in these), club soda, cookbook, gin, plain gelatin, simple syrup, loaf pan

Club soda and lemon syrup

Letting the gelatin soak



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Which Gin works best in Which Cocktail [re-version, July 2012]

A few years ago (and with a much more limited scope of gin experience!) I took a first shot at trying to figure out which gins worked best in a series of classic gin cocktails. Since that initial attempt, I have tried more gins than I can even attempt to count, and I’ve been waiting for the chance to revise my initial list and offer a more nuanced take on how gin works in each of these cocktails.

These cocktails have become my “canon” for reviewing a gin. They’re the old-standbys, the familiar friends whose ingredients I always have in stock. They’re the cocktails that you can go into any bar with its salt and order (perhaps the lone exception in my cabinet may be the “Last Word,” but I digress. The cocktails in the Gin Cocktail Canon are: The Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, Gimlet,  Negroni, Aviation, Martini and The Last Word. All are fine cocktails and all worthy uses of your gin. But with so many new contemporary gins out there and bold experiments on the classic London Dry out there, it is no longer safe to assume that all gins are created equal.

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Cocktails by Consensus: The Tom Collins

Jerry Thomas' Bartenders GuideBobby Heugel @ Houston PressCocktail-GuruAMC's Mad Men Cocktails Gin1 wine glass2 oz gin (Old Tom)2 oz.1.5 oz. Lemon JuiceJuice of a small lemon1 oz1 oz. Sour Mix1.5 oz. Simple Syrup5-6 dashes (gum syrup preferred)3/4 oz.1 tsp Sodafill glass2 oz.Enough to FillTop Off GarnishLemon SliceLemon wedgeLemon Slices InstructionsShake, strain, add soda to fill glass. Shake, strain, add soda to fill glass. Shake, strain, add soda to fill glass. Shake, strain, add soda to fill glass.

Today, I’m briefly revisiting one of my first posts. 

My friend went to bartending school. And I don’t know, do these bad kind of bartending schools still exist? 1 part gin, 3 parts from the hose behind the bar? Well even a few years after writing this initial post I marvel at how far my knowledge of cocktails have come.

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Behind the bar with Aviation Gin

It almost seems too obvious. Make an Aviation with Aviation. But I had to be difficult. and/or different. No! We were not going to put it to work replicating the drink that by its very name it should be delicious in! We’re going to make another classic: the Tom Collins.

Setting the Scene: Its New Years eve, and we’re having a “get together” where we will be enjoying “adult beverages.” Most of the attendees are going to be drinking “Margaritas” (note the quotes, please) and I am looking for something that is going to be easy to make over the course of the night. So when Dick Clark is counting the ticks off the clock, I need to be able to make one quick. I mix up the simple syrup (made waaaaaay too much for one) and I bought one of those lemon shaped containers. I know, bartending snobs feel free to turn your nose up at me. “How uncouth…” At home I have a carbonator so I can carbonate my own water. Usually I do 3-4 pumps, so that my water is twice as effervescent, thereby requiring less.

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Gin Reviews

Glorious Gin [at time of review, Breuckelen Gin]


I have been excited to try this gin since the day I read that two gin distilleries were opening in Brooklyn, NY.  The New Yorker in me was thrilled that a craft, seemingly regulated out of existence in urban areas, was coming back to the city I lived in.The gates opened this past spring, and a short couple of weeks ago I finally picked up a bottle.

The first thing I noticed was the lovely bottle complete with a classy wax-sealed top. Anxious to try, I  grabbed a knife, slit the wax and poured myself a gin and tonic. The first thing that I noticed was the powerful scent of citrus. The bottled smelled noticeably more of citrus than many other gins I’ve tried – but it wasn’t just the smell, it was the components of the smell, and Brecuklen is the only gin I know of where grapefruit stands so boldly.

The grapefruit is hardly a secret, nor are any of the other botanicals in this gin.  Brad Estabrooke, the distiller himself, told the Village Voice that in addition to juniper and lemon, rosemary and ginger are also in there.

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The Bees Knees

The Tom Collins is a classic standby for me when in someone’s house. Its easy to make, nearly any kitchen at any house has all of the ingredients. Its a drink I also avoid when out, because there still exists the kind of bar out there that will drown your sorrows with the dreaded yellow kool-aid better known as “sour mix.” Ugh!

So the other day reading up on my cocktails, I stumbled across the Underhill Lounge’s historical investigation of the cocktail known as “The Bees Knees.” The drink is a simple enough cocktail: replace the simple syrup in a Tom Collins with honey, shake and serve.

The honey can be rather cloying and sweet, but it lends a certain gravity to the drink. Whereas the Collins is essentially sippable, the Bees Knees tastes thicker and feels more satisfying. Its the gin drinker’s answer to “sooth your sore throat with a tea and honey.” (unless you fancy a hot gin Toddy, which in that case I’m curious to hear how well that works for you)

Another take on the Bees Knees is held by Jeffrey Morganthaler. He advocates making a simple syrup out of the honey (more Tom Collins like), but he also says that white rum makes an acceptable substitute.

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Gin Reviews

Bluecoat Gin


The case of Bluecoat, the “American Dry Gin” is an interesting one.  It comes in a bright blue bottle and is sure to stand out on your shelf— one might say it is beaming with American pride. It’s made in Philadelphia and has a four grain base which includes corn, wheat, barley and rye. But really, all of this information isn’t going to help you. Let me some up this gin in one word: Citrus.

You can taste the prickly warmth of the Juniper, but it is above all a citrusy gin. The strongest tasting notes are orange, orange, and maybe hits of lemon and lime. There’s also the slightest taste of clove or anise in there too, but in drinking and mixing this should be treated as a citrus gin above all. In determining whether or not Bluecoat would be appropriate in a cocktail, one should ask, “is citrus the primary flavor of this drink?” I’ve made a flow chart to help the sophisticated bartender determine how to best use this gin in their arsenal.

This is another gin that could help bring new fans to “mother’s ruin.” It is smooth, fragrant, and very drinkable.

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