Vodka Tom Collins

Replacing gin, this vodka cocktail is a refreshing re-do of the classic 1860’s drink.  It’s the perfect refreshment for a warm spring evening or to use up whatever hootch you stockpiled for quarantine or to use as hand sanitizer.

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Look, I get it.  We are in the midst of stressful times – coronavirus, the economy, the uncertainty, self-isolation, quarantine.  Its scary stuff. The ‘what-ifs’ are enough to want to drown your fears in a bottle of alcohol. Please don’t. It won’t help and will leave you feeling ill, maybe even depressed.

A Vodka cocktail of vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda. This Vodka Tom Collins is then garnished with a lemon slice and a maraschino cherry.

However, one delicious cocktail to enjoy at the end of the day, hopefully with someone you love, is a lovely way to do a bit of ‘self-care’.  I can even justify that using freshly squeezed lemon juice, full of Vitamin C is immune boosting. Make it something to look forward to – a time to stop, sit and appreciate what you DO have right now.  

Everyone is making a ‘quarantini’ cocktail these days.  While I love the idea and humor if it, some of the concoctions use Energen-C products as mixers.  I can’t bring myself to even try them.

Thus, a vodka cocktail is my solution.


Obviously, we start with vodka.  

Then pour in lemon juice, or whatever citrus is your favorite and some kind of sweetener.  I like making a simple syrup, which is 1 cup of water and ½ cup sugar that is boiled together until the sugar dissolves.  Store this in your refrigerator and use it in cocktails, iced coffee, or iced tea.

Finish your cocktail with a splash of club soda, tonic water, or even Sprite or 7-up.  You may want to eliminate or reduce the simple syrup.

A Vodka cocktail of vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda. This Vodka Tom Collins is then garnished with a lemon slice and a maraschino cherry.


  • Play with the alcohol used.  Gin and tequila are obvious choices, but whiskey, rum, or brandy would also work well.
  • Try flavoring the simple syrup with herbs like rosemary, basil, or even lavender by steeping the fresh herb in the syrup while you cool it off.  This adds a ‘craft cocktail’ flair to your drink.
  • Any citrus will work – lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit.  Splash in a bit of other juice as well to change it up a bit.  Cherry juice, cranberry, or blueberry juices would be tasty.


Here are a few more recipes to get you through our ‘social distancing’:

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A refreshing vodka cocktail to use up the vodka stockpile you thought you could use as hand sanitizer.  Vodka, lemon juice, soda, and simple syrup makes a light, delicious libabtion.



2 ounces Vodka (or tequila or gin)

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ ounce simple syrup

Club soda


In a shaker that is filled with ice, pour in the vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup.  Shake until the outside of the shaker feels icy.

Strain into a tall glass that is half filled with ice cubes, top with club soda.  Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a slice of lemon.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Starter - Cocktails
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vodka cocktail, Tom Collins recipe, cocktails, Happy hour

What does a Tom Collins cocktail taste like?

Tom Collins cocktails taste like grown-up lemonade. They’re irresistibly citrusy, fizzy and refreshing, with herbal notes from the gin. While lemonade can be cloying, Tom Collins need not be too sweet—I like mine with just a splash of simple syrup to round out the flavors.

What is a Vodka Tom Collins?

The Vodka Collins cocktail is a highball drink with vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water.

Why is it called a Tom Collins?

According to some sources, the Tom Collins originated from a joke told in New York in 1874. A group of friends began telling people in bars that a man named Tom Collins was walking around the city, telling falsehoods about them. So it was that many began to go from one bar to another, in search of the slanderer.

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