There are many gin-based cocktails in the world, one of them being the delicious Tom Collins. But what are the best gins for a Tom Collins?
What Is A Tom Collins And How Does It Taste
The Tom Collins is a drink shrouded in mystery. There are many different claims as to who created the drink and where it originated. Some say it originated in America, while others claim it was created in the United Kingdom.
Wherever it was created, one thing is for sure, they came up with a damn great drink!
A Tom Collins is actually a rather simple drink. All you need is 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, and half an ounce of simple syrup and you’ll need to top it off with club soda. Then, you can garnish with a maraschino cherry and a lemon wheel.
What you get with this drink is a rather simple, but delightful drink. It combines the crispness and freshness of the gin with a sweeter taste of simple syrup. These two flavors contrast nicely and make for a refreshing drink.
The club soda adds what it always adds, a fizzy feeling that just takes it all to the next level. Imagine topping your cocktails off with plain water, how boring that would be.
A Tom Collins should be served in a Collins glass, a glass named especially for this drink.
What Gins Are The Best For A Tom Collins
A Tom Collins might be one of the most versatile gin cocktails. Due to the expansive history behind it, where it was claimed to originate in many different countries, it is also claimed to be made with many different sorts of gins.
This makes the choice of what gin to use relatively easy, as pretty much every gin will be great. However, some types of gin do get the preference over others, just know that any gin will do the trick.
At first, a regular London Dry Gin will always do the trick. A London Dry Gin isn’t as sweet as some other gins and usually has a juniper-forward taste. This is the most popular version of gin and will work well in any gin drink, including a Tom Collins.
Besides a London Dry Gin, you can also experiment with some more unique gins. A gin sets itself apart by being infused with botanicals. These botanicals can range from spices to citruses and are responsible for the taste of a gin.
There isn’t really one botanical that goes especially well with a Tom Collins, so you can experiment how you like. A Tom Collins is a little sweet, so you can go with something refreshing to contrast that sweetness, or you can enhance the sweetness by using a gin infused with sweeter botanicals.
Lastly, you could go for a genever. Genever is the first juniper-based spirit and basically the father of gin. There are a few differences, though. Genever contains more malt and can even taste a little sweeter.
Some even say genever taste’s like unaged whiskey, in the best way possible.
One thing that’s for sure, though, is that during the time the Tom Collins was created, genever was a popular spirit. The slightly stronger taste of genever would go very well with a Tom Collins.
Below are listed a few suggestions of great gins and genevers to use for a Tom Collins. These are all amazing, but remember that a Tom Collins can be made with practically any gin!
1. Beefeater London Dry Gin
Who hasn’t heard of Beefeater London Dry Gin? Beefeater London Dry Gin was created all the way back in 1820 and to this day, it is still made with the same recipe.
This gin is both timeless and versatile. Its taste is what you’d expect from a London Dry gin, being crisp and juniper-forward. However, there is a nice citrusy aspect to the taste as well.
This citrusy undertone does make the gin a little more unique, but in all honesty, Beefeaters London Dry Gin is nothing too special. With that being said, its simplicity is also its strength. You simply cannot go wrong with this one.
Whether you’re drinking your gin straight or in a cocktail like the Tom Collins, this gin will fit right in. And besides tasting great, this gin has also won many silver awards in the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Due to its simplicity and versatile taste, this is a gin that’s almost a must in everyone’s liquor cabinet. And the best part, it’s also extremely affordable as well.
You’ll pay a reasonable price for a rather great gin, making this one all the more worth it.
2. Tanqueray Export Strength
Tanqueray Export Strength is yet another gin that isn’t wild or unique but does everything just perfectly.
With this gin, you get a specific, classic gin taste, consisting of mainly juniper berries, but with some added fruity notes. This makes the gin a tad bit sweeter and takes away an otherwise bitter aftertaste.
This sweeter undertone makes this gin work especially well in cocktails. It basically takes away any less desirable part of gin and, even though it tastes simple and straightforward, manages to be amazing in combination with other drinks and flavors.
Besides tasting great, this gin also has a rather nice aroma to it as well. It smells crisp and aromatic, as a gin should, but it also has a light touch of citruses and cedarwood.
Overall, Tanqueray Export Strenght is definitely an amazing gin that goes perfectly with any gin-based drink, including a Tom Collins. It has even won a gold award at the World Gin Awards. This should give you an idea of what kind of gin you’re getting with this.
Besides being versatile and tasting great, it’s also very affordable as well. Tanqueray Export Strength is yet another bottle that seamlessly fits in any liquor cabinet and will always be of use.
3. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is a gin inspired by the gin styles of the 18th Century and has a lot of similarities with genever. The main difference between a genever and an Old Tom Gin is that the Old Tom Gin will be more juniper-forward.
When you compare Hayman’s Old Tom Gin to most other gins, you’ll find that it’s much sweeter. This sweetness can be found back in its roots, being that it’s an older gin that shares similarities with genever.
Genever is produced by distilling malt wine and adding herbs and juniper berries. Naturally, this malt wine product will be a bit sweeter and this sweetness can be found back in an Old Tom Gin.
The Hayman’s version of Old Tom Gin is best described as easy-going and approachable. This gin has some sweet tones to it but also contains the fresh and crisp taste of juniper.
Along with the sweet tones and juniper are some floral tones, as well as a gingery feel. This gingery, almost gingerbread-like taste is partly responsible for the sweetness of this gin, but also provides it with a fresh aftertaste.
Lastly, this gin contains a taste of black tea. This is a rather distinct taste that stays in the background but is definitely noticeable.
Overall, Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is a very approachable and easy-going gin that goes well with pretty much any drink. In fact, the sweetness of this gin works especially well with a sweeter cocktail like the Tom Collins!
4. Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin
Whitley Neil Blood Orange Gin is a gin infused with, you guessed it, blood orange. This makes for a fruitier and sweeter-tasting gin that goes very well with a sweeter cocktail such as the Tom Collins.
This gin was created by Frederick Neill who wanted to create a vodka after his Sicilian honeymoon. This drink turned out to be a gin, however, and a good one at that.
The botanicals used in this gin are juniper berries, coriander seeds, cassia bark, orris root, angelica root, licorice, sweet orange, lemon, and Sicilian orange.
With these botanicals, you can imagine that this gin will taste fresh, crisp, and fruity. Multiple fruity botanicals are used in combination with juniper, coriander, and some floral roots.
These all come together to create a gin that tastes fresh and citrusy upfront and has a richer, spicier aftertaste.
Due to the sweetness of the fruits and the freshness of the citruses, this gin is very versatile. It goes great in pretty much any cocktail, including the Tom Collins.
In fact, the sweetness of the fruits goes especially well with the slightly sweet taste of the simple syrup that’s used in a Tom Collins.
Overall, Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin is a fantastic gin for both beginners and gin lovers. It’s crisp, fruity, and versatile, making it a great bottle for any liquor cabinet!
5. Gordon’s London Dry Gin
Gordon’s London Dry Gin is another classic gin on this list. Who does not recognize the classic long bottle with the yellow label?
Gordon’s London Dry Gin is rather similar to the earlier mentioned Beefeater London Dry Gin or the Tanqueray Export Strenght in the sense that they’re all just amazingly versatile London Dry Gins.
Gordon’s London Dry Gin was made by Alexander Gordon all the way back in 1769. The recipe used back then is the recipe used to this day. This recipe is top secret and only 12 people on the planet know it.
The taste of this gin is, as expected, a little juniper-forward. It is, after all, a London Dry Gin, an unsweetened kind of gin with a juniper-forward taste. However, this doesn’t mean that it can be made more interesting. A London Dry Gin doesn’t only have to taste like juniper berries!
With this gin, there are some light citrusy touches to it and you can even pick up hints of herbs and spices. This makes for an interesting taste that doesn’t stray away from what it’s supposed to be.
Overall, Gordon’s London Dry Gin is a true jack of all trades. It’s extremely versatile and can be drunk neat or in your cocktail of choice. Just like most versatile gins, this one will also be great in a Tom Collins!
6. Bols Genever
Bols Genever is the first genever on this list. Unlike most recipes that tell you so, genever actually works quite well in a Tom Collins.
Considering the rich history of the Tom Collins, it doesn’t seem too weird that a stronger, sweeter version of our modern gin works well in a Tom Collins.
Bols Genever is a stunning, old-fashioned genever from the Netherlands, the country where genever originated. This genever smells and tastes great and compared to modern gins, has a more earthy and robust feel.
When you open your bottle of Bols Genever, you’re greeted by scents of malt, spices, and even some fruits. This makes for an almost creamy, sweet scent.
Its taste, however, is much more robust, as it has a green and crisp taste of juniper and grass, supported by some spices. These spices are mainly apparent in the finish, but they do add a new dimension to the genever.
Overall, Bols Genever is a fantastic drink, but you do have to enjoy a more robust taste. Some might find this one too rough for modern-day gin drinks, but someone who truly appreciates gin and genever will find that this one tastes amazing!
7. Hendrick’s Gin
Hendrick’s Gin is becoming a household name in the gin world. This particular gin has an incredibly fresh scent and taste of cucumber, the main focus of this gin.
When you open your bottle of Hendrick’s Gin, you’re immediately greeted by a strong and creamy scent of citrus, juniper, rose petals, and, of course, cucumber. This scent perfectly translates into the taste of this gin.
This gin is all about cucumber, and that’s the predominant taste you’ll get. This dominant taste of cucumber is accompanied by a crisp and piney taste of juniper berries and there’s even a hint of oak in the background.
Along with the flavors, there’s also an influence of fresh florals and vanilla. These mainly make up the finish of this gin but are just as important as the flavors from the opening.
Besides tasting amazing, Hendrick’s Gin is often seen as a high-end, high-quality gin. Presenting a bottle as classy as this one, paired with the high-quality taste and scent will surely leave an impression.
On its own, Hendrick’s Gin is already amazing. Serving it neat with a slice of cucumber is truly amazing, but pairing it with a tonic or using it in a Tom Collins is equally fantastic!
8. Rutte’s Old Simon Genever
Rutte’s Old Simon Genever is yet another Dutch genever. This time it’s a little more nutty and herbaceous, making it stand apart from most other gins and genevers on this list.
Back in 1830, Simon Rutte moved to Dordrecht, the Netherlands. A few years later in 1872, he opened his first distillery. This distillery is still used to this day and is responsible for many fantastic drinks.
Rutte’s Old Simon Genever is a typically Dutch drink. The predominant taste comes from juniper berries, paired with roasted nuts. Hints of walnuts and hazelnuts make for a creamy and rich taste.
Besides these nutty accords, Rutte’s Old Simon Genever also contains some commonly used botanicals such as licorice, celery, and angelica root.
All in all, with Rutte’s Old Simon Genever, you get a true taste of an old-school genever. This taste is strong and robust and is great when drunk on its own.
Alternatively, it also works fantastic when paired with something sweet. This genever makes for a fantastic foundation for a sweeter cocktail like the Tom Collins!
Now you know the best gin to use for a Tom Collins but it is ultimately a matter of personal preference. However, if you are looking for a classic Tom Collins, then a London Dry Gin is the way to go.
If you want to spice things up, consider using a flavored gin or a gin with a unique botanical blend. No matter which gin you choose, the Tom Collins is sure to be a delicious and refreshing addition to your summer cocktails.
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