Though the original recipe for the Tom Collins has been lost to history, careful research on the part of cocktail historian David Wondrich has led to a close approximation. In addition to the classic ingredients--sugar, lemon, gin and sparkling water--his research suggests the inclusion of a syrup flavored with maidenhead fern. In a nod to this historic ingredient, Eben Freeman's version includes a dash of orange flower water.
Tom Collins 1830
Recipe adapted from Eben Freeman, Osteria Morini/Ai Fiori, New York City
Yield: 1 cocktail
Cook Time: 10 minutes
One 1-inch-wide strip of lemon peel (white pith removed)
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
3 ounces boiling water
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
Dash of orange flower water
1½ ounces Hayman's Old Tom Gin
3 ounces cold club soda
1. In a small nonreactive bowl, muddle the lemon peel with the sugar until the sugar is moist with lemon oil. Pour the boiling water over the lemon peel and sugar, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to steep for 2 hours, swirling the bowl occasionally.
2. Remove the lemon peel from the syrup and discard. Stir in the lemon juice and orange flower water, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and into a chilled Collins glass. Add the gin, top with the club soda and add the lemon peel.