The Story Behind The John Collins

Think of John Collins as a lesser-known sibling of the popular Tom Collins. Believed to have been invented in the late 1800s at Limmer’s Old House in London, the cocktail was reportedly named after the head waiter at the establishment. Silent film actor Frank Sheridan even wrote a rhyme dedicated to John Collins, whoever he may be. 

Despite its unclear origins, John Collins became a distinct version of the classic Tom Collins. Both are made with lemon juice, club soda, and simple syrup, but what sets them apart is the spirit used. The former substitutes gin for whiskey, giving it a distinct golden-yellow hue.


  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2-3 ounces club soda
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup and stir to combine.
  3. Top with club soda and garnish with lemon twist.

Rate This Recipe:

(12 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 171
Updated: 2022-06-01

The John Collins Recipe