How Is A Tom Collins Cocktail Different From A John Collins?

We imagine hanging out with the Collins family would have been a pretty good time. There are, after all, at least 10 cocktails named after the fictitious bunch (via Difford's Guide), and that sounds like a party we'd like to attend.

Alas, the Collinses exist only in cocktail mythology. The first of the Collins gang, which would be Tom, of course, can be traced back to the late 19th century (via VinePair). The first written mention of it appeared in the second edition of the book How to Mix Drinks, published in 1876. The name of the bartender who first crafted the cocktail, sadly, has been lost to history, but one story goes that a cheeky barkeep named John Collins named the drink after himself, despite not having invented it. Given, however, that Old Tom was the gin brand most often used for the libation, the beverage's moniker eventually evolved to become the "Tom Collins." 

With the flavor of spiked, bubbly lemonade, the Tom Collins is a refreshingly cool summer drink. The classic Tom Collins also deserves a place in your summer beverage rotation because it's easy to mix up and requires no fancy ingredients: It's just gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda (via You don't even have to shake it.

How the Tom Collins gave us John

According to MasterClass, the John Collins cocktail differs from a Tom Collins simply in that it swaps out the gin for bourbon. Bourbon is an American whiskey (via World Whiskey Day), which gives it a more distinctively golden hue and a very different flavor than its "ginny" older sibling. Another small distinction: Whereas the Tom Collins is garnished with a lemon, John Collins is garnished with an orange, and either can be garnished with a festive maraschino cherry (via Allrecipes). 

Made with gin, the Tom Collins features the delicious botanical notes for which gin is prized. All gins have juniper flavor, but experimenting with various brands can lend your Tom Collinses notes of cinnamon, ginger, citrus, coriander, or other herbs and spices (via VinePair). Bourbon whiskey gives the John Collins the distinctive "toasty" warmth of whiskey, complemented by the sweeter notes of caramel, vanilla, spice, and oak (via Flaviar) this American whiskey is known for.

There's no rivalry here: Both Collins siblings are delicious warm-weather drinks.