John Collins Cocktail Recipe Drink

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If you’re looking for a delicious and refreshing cocktail to enjoy this summer, look no further than the John Collins Cocktail! This drink has a fun history and is simple to make.

Read on for the easy to make recipe and instructions.

What’s a John Collins Cocktail?

John Collins Cocktail Closeup of Drink

A John Collins cocktail is a refreshing drink made with gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water.

The John Collins is a classic cocktail and is the original version of the more popular and well known Tom Collins cocktail. It’s similar to a Tom Collins, but a Tom Collins drink uses Old Tom Gin instead.

Modern versions of the John Collins also call for Bourbon whiskey instead of gin – so if you’re a bourbon lover, feel free to give that a try!

History of the John Collins cocktail

The history of the John Collins cocktail is interesting – it’s named after a head waiter at Limmer’s popular London hotel and coffee house in the late 1800s, John Collins.

The John Collins cocktail was very similar to the popular Victorian gin punches of the time period, which also used lemon and soda water. The cocktail was also originally served in a wine glass with a bottle of plain soda shake, but it was replaced by the Collins cocktail glass that was created exactly for this cocktail and the newer club soda.

The John Collins cocktail quickly became a popular drink and was soon being served all over London. It eventually made its way to America, where it’s still enjoyed today.

John Collins Drink vs Tom Collins Cocktail

John Collins Cocktail Top View

As mentioned, the John Collins cocktail is similar to a Tom Collins. Both drinks are refreshing and made with gin (or bourbon), lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water.

The main difference between the two drinks is the type of gin used – Tom Collins uses Old Tom Gin or a dry gin while John Collins uses regular gin. They are pretty much the same, but the cocktail was renamed in the 1876 Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas, because his recipe called for Old “Tom” gin.

Should I use Gin or Bourbon?

Gin or bourbon whiskey can both be used in the John Collins cocktail. Both have their own benefits, but you can’t go wrong with either choice.

Gin is a botanical spirit that is made from juniper berries. It has a clean and refreshing taste, and is perfect for cocktails.

Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made from corn. It has a sweeter, richer flavor that is perfect for sipping.

So, which one should you use? It all depends on your preference!

If you prefer gin, go with that. If you prefer bourbon, go with that. Both are delicious and refreshing.

5 Best Gins for this Cocktail

So, what type of gin should I use to make this cocktail? Well, any premium gin will taste delicious in this recipe, but we recommend the following 5 gins for the best experience:

  1. Hendrick’s Gin – Hendrick’s gin is a premium gin that is made with 11 botanical ingredients. It has a unique flavor that is perfect for cocktails. It tastes of citrus, floral, cucumber.
  2. Tanqueray Gin – Tanqueray is a classic London dry gin that has been around since 1830. It’s made with four botanical ingredients and has a clean, crisp flavor.
  3. Beefeater Gin – Beefeater is another classic London dry gin that has a juniper-forward flavor. It’s made with nine botanical ingredients and has a refreshing taste of fresh herbs.
  4. Plymouth Gin – Plymouth gin is a type of English gin that is made with seven botanical ingredients. It has a softer flavor than other gins, making it perfect for cocktails.
  5. Gordon’s Gin – Gordon’s gin is a classic London dry gin that has been around since 1769. It’s made with 11 botanical ingredients and has a juniper-forward flavor.

5 Best Bourbons for this Cocktail

Not a gin fan? No problem! You can also make this cocktail with bourbon. Here are our five favorite bourbons for the John Collins:

  1. Bulleit Bourbon – Bulleit bourbon is made with rye, corn, and barley. It has a high rye content, which gives it a spicy flavor.
  2. Knob Creek Bourbon – Knob Creek bourbon is made with corn, rye, and barley. It’s aged for nine years, which gives it a rich flavor.
  3. Woodford Reserve Bourbon – Woodford Reserve bourbon is made with corn, rye, and barley. It’s aged in oak barrels for seven years, which gives it a smooth flavor.
  4. Maker’s Mark Bourbon – Maker’s Mark bourbon is made with wheat, corn, and barley. It’s aged for six years, which gives it a sweet flavor.
  5. Jim Beam Bourbon – Jim Beam bourbon is made with corn, rye, and barley. It’s aged for four years, which gives it a light flavor.

No matter what type of gin or bourbon you choose, the John Collins cocktail is sure to be delicious! Cheers!

Cocktail Ingredients:

Cocktail John Collins with club Soda, Lemon Juice, Gin, ice cubes, cocktail cherry

The John Collins cocktail only contains 4 simple main ingredients and 2 garnishes to make it the perfect presentation to impress.

Bartender Tools Needed for this Recipe:

John Collins Cocktail Closeup of Top of Drink

To make the John Collins cocktail, you will need a few key bartender tools and supplies in order to create this perfect drink.

Now that you have all of your ingredients and tools, let’s get started on making this delicious cocktail!

Easy Steps to Make a John Collins Cocktail

John Collins Cocktail with Jigger Cherries and Lemons

Now that you know all about the John Collins cocktail, it’s time to learn how to make it! This recipe is simple and only requires a few ingredients.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll be sipping on this refreshing cocktail in no time:

  1. In an ice filled cocktail shaker add gin or bourbon whiskey and simple syrup.
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake well until the cocktail is fully mixed.
  4. Strain drink into ice filled Collins Glass
  5. Top off with club soda and lightly stir.
  6. Garnish with a lemon slice and maraschino cherry.
  7. Enjoy!

And that’s it! You’ve now made a John Collins cocktail! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your delicious drink. Cheers!

The John Collins cocktail is perfect for summertime – it’s refreshing and has a great citrus flavor. If you’re looking for something a little different, try adding some fresh berries to the mix.

Bartender Tips to Make the Perfect John Collins Cocktail

Here are a few expert bartender tips to help you make the perfect John Collins cocktail:

  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • If you want a sweeter drink, use simple syrup instead of sugar.
  • Use high quality gin or bourbon for the best tasting cocktail.
  • You can also garnish with a cherry and orange slice or lemon peel and dust them with powdered sugar for the perfect presentation.
  • Add a few dashes of bitters to add some depth of flavor.
  • There are a wide variety of substitutes for club soda, such as soda water or tonic water.

How should a John Collins Cocktail be Served and Enjoyed?

John Collins Drink with Lemon and Cherry

The John Collins drink is best enjoyed ice cold with great company. Serve it in a Collins glass or highball glass and garnish with a lemon slice and maraschino cherry. Enjoy!

What is the Difference Form Other Gin Cocktails?

The John Collins cocktail is a refreshing and flavorful drink that’s perfect for any occasion. It’s unique because it’s made with club soda or soda water, which gives it a light and bubbly texture.

This cocktail is also different from other gin cocktails because it’s not as sweet. The lemon juice and simple syrup help to balance out the flavors and create a refreshing drink that’s perfect for anytime.

Will Bottled Lemon Juice Work?

Yes, you can use bottled lemon juice in this recipe, but freshly squeezed lemon juice will taste best. If you’re using bottled lemon juice, start with less and add more to taste. You may also want to add a little bit extra simple syrup to balance out the tartness of the lemon juice.

Here is the Bottled Lemon Juice we recommend.

What are Some Other Collins Cocktails?

John Collins Drink next to Jar of Maraschino Cherries

If you’re looking for more recipes for Collins cocktails, try these drinks that are similar to the John Collins drink and are just as delicious:

  • Tom Collins – Made with Old Tom Gin.
  • Dutch Collins – Genever.
  • Captain Collins – Rum.
  • Colonel Collins -Bourbon.
  • Joe Collins or Vodka Collins – Vodka.
  • Mike Collins – Irish whiskey.

John Collins Cocktail Recipe

John Collins Cocktail Closeup of Drink

Must Try John Collins Cocktail

The John Collins is a delicious and timeless cocktail. This is the original version of the popular Tom Collins drink and can be made with either Gin or Bourbon.
5 from 1 vote
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Drink Type: Cocktail
Main Alcohol: Gin, Whiskey
Keyword: Cherry, Gin, Lemon, Whiskey
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Jigger
  • Hawthorne Strainer
  • Bar Spoon
  • Collins Glass


  • 2 oz Gin or Bourbon
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 4 oz Club Soda
  • Ice
  • Lemon Wheel (Garnish)
  • Maraschino Cherry (Garnish)


  • Add Gin (Bourbon), Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, and Ice to Cocktail Shaker
  • Shake Well for Around 10-15 Seconds
  • Strain into Ice Filled Collins Glass
  • Top With Club Soda and Lightly Stir
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel and Maraschino Cherry

Bartender Notes

  • The original recipe calls for gin, but modern recipes call for bourbon. It is your preference which to choose.

Cheers to the John Collins cocktail – a delicious drink with a fun history! This refreshing cocktail is perfect for any occasion and is sure to impress your guests. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a John Collins drink today! Thanks

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We hope you enjoyed this recipe article for the John Collins drink! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And if you’re looking for more cocktail recipes, be sure to check out our website for more delicious drinks