While the Tom Collins' origins are contentious to say the least, our preferred history comes from a New York City practical joke. A man would walk into a bar and choose his victim, approach him and say "Have you seen Tom Collins?" Tom Collins was an entirely fictional man at the time, created in some ways by a collective conscious, with no possible way to decipher who actually came up with him, described to be a frequenter of taverns and would sit at the bar, and slander pretty much every man he may have met. So the jokester would approach any person, likely a friend, and inform them that Tom Collins had been slandering their name all over town, and he was recently spotted nearby, and they should go and confront him. Basically this was all to send frustrated men on wild goose chases - which is honestly hilarious, as they'd walk into a bar and ask the bartender "Have you seen Tom Collins?" in great frustration, and receive the now classic Cocktail.
This only gets funnier as Newspapers started hearing rumblings of this and added to the Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1974. Some actually printed warnings like this taken from the Daily Republican.
"Tom Collins Still Among Us.” “This individual kept up his nefarious business of slandering our citizens all day yesterday. But we believe that he succeeded in keeping out of the way of his pursuers. In several instances he came well nigh being caught, having left certain places but a very few moments before the arrival of those who were hunting him. His movements are watched to-day with the utmost vigilance."
Soon enough the Hoax had run its course, as once you'd been fooled one, you would not be fooled twice, and eventually the Tom Collins was drunk by many in bars the world over. Nowadays it's still a cocktail bartenders bread and butter, an essential recipe for any gin lover. At Applewood, we love it with just a little bit more citrus flavour, simple, and delicious. Check the recipe below and add this to your own cocktail quiver!
The Applewood Tom Collins
Garnish with a twist of lemon.