John Collins Cocktail

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Cocktail Type


Great for

Dinner Party



Front view of John Collins Cocktail garnished with Lemon Wedges and a Maraschino cherry

Unlike the other Collins family cocktails, which are made with gin, our John Collins cocktail is swirled with bourbon, the warm caramel and vanilla notes make this a rich, delicious, yet refreshing cocktail that’s easy to make at a moment’s notice.





1 Person

45 Ml

1.5 Oz

1.5 Parts

30 Ml

1 Oz

1 Parts

lemon juice
15 Ml

0.5 Oz

0.5 Parts

simple syrup
60 Ml

2 Oz

2 Parts

soda water
to garnish, a Maraschino cherry and a slice of orange



Fill a Collins or hi-ball glass with ice and add the bourbon, lemon juice, and syrup and stir thoroughly to combine


Top up with soda water and garnish with a cherry and an orange slice

What is a John Collins cocktail?

Legend has it that a fine young gentleman called John Collins bartended at London’s Mayfair dive bar called The Limmer’s Hotel in the 1820s and made up this delightful cocktail, naming it after himself. Like with all legends, there’s always a conspiracy theorist telling another tale, and there are later rumours that an American called Stephen Price, who ran The Garrick Club down the road, was the true inventor of the John Collins. Either way, the OG John Collins cocktail was a gin punch with a good measure of lemon juice, sugar, which can come in the form of a simple syrup and then topped up with carbonated water, usually soda water, but sometimes sparkling water or lemonade, however the tide turned, and our modern John Collins cocktail ingredients evolved using bourbon instead!

The best John Collins cocktail recipe that you can make at home

Our John Collins recipe needs no special tools at all, not even a cocktail shaker! This easy drink is made straight into a Collins glass filled with ice and topped up with soda water to taste – it doesn’t get simpler (and saves on the washing up at the end of the party!). We suggest you choose a top-shelf bourbon like Wild Turkey to deliver sweet vanilla and oak notes that blend brilliantly with zesty fresh lemon juice.

John Collins vs Tom Collins

With two Collins cocktails making the rounds, it’s easy to get confused so let us explain the key differences between a John Collins and a Tom Collins cocktail. They have many similarities – for starters, they’re both served in a namesake Collins glass, a tall glass that typically holds about 350ml-475ml, making this a long serve. Both drinks also contain a mixture of lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda water but the spirit choice is where these two cocktails differ. While a Tom Collins is made with a London Dry gin, a John Collins has taken a modern twist and swaps the gin for bourbon whiskey for a dramatically different flavour profile. A John Collins is a lot like a Whiskey Sour cocktail but is made longer with the addition of soda water.

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This is a refreshing cocktail to enjoy whatever the weather; it’s a cooling sip on hot days in the summer but, at the same time, the sweet bourbon flavours are warming and cosy to enjoy on colder days and at winter dinner parties. Since it’s so simple to make and doesn’t require many ingredients, the John Collins is a great cocktail to have up your sleeve for chilled nights in with friends, parties and dinner dates. Bourbon fans could also serve this simple sipper as a wedding cocktail or as an after-dinner drink.

You mix up a John Collins cocktail with bourbon or whisky, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a simple sugar syrup and finally soda water. It’s served over ice for a refreshing drink that everyone will adore.