You've probably heard of a Tom Collins, but have you ever tried a Vodka Collins cocktail? While the Vodka Collins may not be as well-known as it's older brother Tom, or even other historic cocktails such as the Manhattan and Mojito, the recipe is a tried-and-true classic.
Complete with vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda, this drink recipe is the perfect summer cocktail, especially with that little bit of fizz.
History of the Collins Drink
Before we had the Vodka Collins, we had the Tom Collins.
Noted to have been in cookbooks all the way back in the late 1800s, the exact origins of the drinks have been contested and debated for more than a hundred years. The recipe originally published in Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartender's Manual or How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style called for 3 parts Old Tom Gin, 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part sugar syrup, and soda water to taste. The cocktail was mixed in a collins glass with ice cubes and garnished with a maraschino cherry and a lemon slice.
The Vodka Collins is a slight twist on the history recipe, relying on vodka as the cocktail base, rather than gin. Some modern iterations of the trip substitute sour mix for the lemon and simple syrup mixture.
Throughout the years, new variations of the drink started to pop up on bar menus including:
Summer Collins - Equal parts of gin and lemonade.
South Side - Equal parts of gin and limeade with the addition of mint.
Juan Collins - Tequila, lime juice, sugar, and club soda.
Rum Collins - Rum, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water.
John Collins - Whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water.
What's The Best Vodka to Make a Collins?
While vodkas have a reputation for "all tasting the same" or "tasting like nothing," the flavor and viscosity of the liquor can greatly change depending on what the base ingredient is. For example, wheat-based vodkas can have a breadier quality to them, while corn vodkas tend to be a bit sweeter.
Since this is a classic high-ball recipe, topped off with fizzy soda water, we recommend reaching for a rye-based vodka, as the hint of spiciness they carry will pair well with the simple cocktail.
How to Make a Vodka Collins
To make a Vodka Collins, all you need is a tall glass and your ingredients. No cocktail shaker needed here!
In a collins glass or even a highball glass, combine 3 parts vodka, 2 parts lemon juice, and 1 part simple syrup. Add ice and stir together with a spoon. Top with soda water and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon slice.
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 Maraschino cherry
- 1 lemon slice
- In a collins glass or even a highball glass, combine vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add ice and stir together with a spoon. Top with soda water and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon slice.