By Richard Thomas
Whiskey is a tricky spirit for cocktails, because so many whiskeys have a smoky aspect that doesn’t exactly blend well with tonic water, lemon juice and other mixology fixtures. The Sandy or Jock Collins is an example. Because it takes the basic Tom Collins recipe and simply exchanges scotch for gin, coming up with a palatable cocktail means being very picky about the scotch used. Peaty scotch must be avoided, and floral scotch used instead, and that in turn demands having a fairly wide familiarity with cheap, entry-level scotch in the first place.
The Harry Collins attempts to work around this problem by making major substitutions to the recipe by replacing the lemon and club soda with lime and ginger beer. The substitution works, and if you intend to make a Collins-style cocktail with scotch, make it this one. The lime and ginger beer come together nicely, easily mitigating even the peatiest smoke while leaving the whiskey flavor identifiable. Note that the color is lighter than that of the Sandy/Jock Collins as well, due to the murky yellow color of the ginger beer.
2 oz. scotch whiskey
1 oz. lime juice
1 tsp. table sugar
3 oz. ginger beer
(1 oz is roughly equal to 30 ml)
These proportions make one cocktail. Mix the ingredients in a shaker, and pour into a tall glass (bars have special glasses for the Tom Collins and its variants) half-filled with ice. It’s that simple.
Usually the Tom Collins and its variants are served with a cherry garnish, as I did here. You might try a lime slice in place of or in addition to the cherry. I left the lime slice out because I feel one garnish is enough.