Today we are going to talk about two very similar drinks: the Gin Fizz and the Tom Collins.
What is Gin Fizz?
A Fizz is a traditional drink. Usually a sour cocktail with soda water or sparkling water added on top to give it an effervescent, bubbly — fizz — quality to it. Without the fizz, it wouldn't be a Gin Fizz, it would be a Gin Sour.
The Story of Tom Collins
I love the story of the name Tom Collins. It's kind of funny. It might not be where the name Tom Collins originated, as there was a whiskey drink named John Collins that existed before it.
Apparently, back in 1874, there was the practical joke going around, this sending someone on a wild goose chase kind of thing. So the practical joke goes something like this: You're walking down the street and all of a sudden, someone comes up to you and goes, "Hey, Tom Collins, at the bar right now, is talking shit about you." Then you would get all worked up. "I'm gonna go and show that Tom Collins — I'm going to have him say that to my face." — or something like that. So you go all the way to the bar and you look for this Tom Collins person. You go up to the bartender and say, "Bartender, where is Tom Collins?" And he serves you a drink, because there was no Tom Collins person. It was very funny.
How to Make a Gin Fizz
Add gin, lemon juice, sugar into shaker tin. Shake with ice. Strain and pour into tall glass. Top off with soda water. Garnish with lemon slice or cherry.
One distinction between the Gin Fizz vs Tom Collins is that the Gin Fizz can have egg whites added, where as the Tom Collins never identifies as having egg whites.
How to Make a Tom Collins
What the Difference Between Gin Fizz and Tom Collins?
The two practically identical drinks only have a slight variation in the amount of gin, sugar and lemon juice added — of course, this ends up affecting the amount of soda water in the glass as well. Thus making one more boozy than the other (Gin Fizz). In the grand scheme of things, you can call one the other and nobody will say you are a liar. They might say you've mistaken, or that you are too drunk, but can they be 100% sure themselves? No way!
My suggestion: if you are ordering from a fancy cocktail bar, order a Gin Fizz. They'll most likely use a top shelf gin as the flavour of the spirit has the spotlight in the Gin Fizz, where as the Tom Collins is more of a beverage with ensemble players. Tom Collins is the more balance choice for those who are just getting their feet and lips wet with gin.
If you are using a high quality gin, go for the Gin Fizz — if you are looking for a more refreshing beverage to down during a hot sultry day, order the Tom Collins.
In the end, only you can make the decision of which one you truly like more. Give it a try at home or out a bar. Let me know what you discover in the comments. I'd love to hear your experience.