Ah, summer puts me in a mind for something refreshing and icy with a little zing and the perfect drink to fit the bill is the Tom Collins. The Tom Collins has been around since the 19th century, so it is definitely a vintage drink, but old recipes definitely can be a bit cryptic.
Well, if you’re like me, who is far too analytical, you’re asking – how big of a lemon? ½ a lemon can give you anywhere from ¾ ounce to 1 ¼ ounce. Do they mean a modern day tablespoon? (½ a tablespoon would equal 1 ½ teaspoons) How much is in a “glass” of dry gin? Other old recipes can be equally as up to interpretation. 1 large wine glass of gin – seriously? A modest wine glass holds 4 ounces of wine, properly. A large wine glass? That is a lot of booze! How much is a split? A split of champagne is 12 and a half ounces. That seems like a lot of water (maybe they needed it for the giant-size wine glasses of gin they used.) I’ll fully admit, I’m not a booze expert, so all of these terms could make perfect sense to a modern bartender. But I’m just a novice reading from a book, so I interpreted it to my taste.
The ratio I found I liked was my good old 3-2-1 ratio I mentioned in my last Cocktail Hour post:
Combine the lemon and sugar in the bottom of a glass and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the gin. Fill the glass up to the top with ice and top off the ice with club soda. Make it pretty with either mint, a cherry, orange slice, or what have you. The reason I say you may need a little more club soda is I have big Collins glasses and I just despise the idea of a glass not full to the top. Depending on how much ice I put in the glass, 3 ounces of club soda won’t get me to the top of my glass. But don’t add too much more club soda or you’ll just have lemon water. Sometimes I balance it out any additional club soda with another splash of gin.
There you have it. A tasty libation for these hot summer days. Cin cin!