The Name Game


In a cocktail shaker or large glass tumbler, mix the following—then serve over crushed ice (no cherry, please), topped with fizzy water:

1 ounce gin (dry is best)

The juice of one lemon and half a lime

2 drops of oil of orange

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

The TOM COLLINS is a refreshing summer beverage that has as many supposed inventors as the corn dog and boasts of as many variations upon its simple theme as the hot-fudge sundae; the former is likely as unprovable as the latter are unpalatable. Despite the drink’s obscure origins, most early recipes list Old Tom gin—a sweetened beverage of reasonable strength—as the prime ingredient; all call for sugar and the juice of various fresh citrus fruits. Avoid that modern abomination known as “sour mix” and dash off to Kalustyan’s on Curry Hill for the exotic oil of orange, squeeze the other fruits yourself (or get someone to do it for you while you wind up the Victrola), and relax into a fine old state of inebriation. Alternatives worth noting, if not consuming, are the John Collins (made with whiskey); the vodka collins; the rum collins, which seems like a roundheel daiquiri; and the Irish collins—about which the less said the better.