Wednesday night I attended a party to celebrate the 100th episode of Lost. Nick Johnson was there making Tom Collins for the guests. You may consider the venerable Tom Collins to be too pedestrian for your tastes, but when made correctly it can be quite a treat. Nick sets his off by adding lime juice and some Blue Curaçao, which make a subtle difference to the flavor and ramp his recipe up to include three kinds of citrus. All this in addition to coloring this Collins blue. Apologies to Nick, but I cut the lemon juice in half on this one. I found that when I used the juice of a whole lemon (approx. 2 oz) like Nick did; I couldn’t really taste the gin, which was a waste with the Sapphire; so I halved the lemon juice. As usual, you should experiment until you get the taste you want, especially if you’re using cheaper gin.
A Collins is normally built in the glass you serve it in, but I like to shake my Collins so the ice in the glass lasts longer; again it’s your choice. On a more important note, do yourself a favor and avoid using purchased Sour mix or Collins mix in this or any cocktail you make. If you don’t like Collins, these mixes may be why; I’m convinced that they are the reason that the Tom Collins has fallen into disrepute. The difference that fresh lemons and limes make in your cocktails is well worth the effort it takes to keep some around the house to squeeze into your shaker.
½ oz Blue Curaçao
freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon (about 1 oz.)
freshly squeezed juice of ¼ lime (about ¼ oz.)
1 tsp fine sugar
3-4 oz club soda or soda water
Combine ingredients (except the club soda) in a shaker half full of ice and shake to the rhythm of a tom-tom. Strain into a Collins glass half full of ice cubes and top off the glass with club soda. Drop in a maraschino cherry. Stir lightly (use the straw if you’re serving it with one). Garnish with a slice of orange or a twist of lemon peel.