Tom Collins

Charles Tanqueray's Birthday

Your cocktail calendar entry for: March
No Comments

The Drunkard’s Almanac contains affiliate links and we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use those links to make a purchase.   Many thanks for supporting this website and helping us make the world a better place, one drink at a time.

It’s March 27, so here at The Drunkard’s Almanac we’re mixing a Tom Collins for Charles Tanqueray’s birthday.  Or at least we think it’s his birthday, based on some sketchy sources whose identity we can’t remember.  Let’s face it:  record keeping in 1810, if it existed at all, wasn’t exactly backed up on some server in a hardened bunker.  But when we learned the source seemed good enough for our purposes so it was put on the calendar.  So today it’s the Tom Collins for Charles Tanqueray’s birthday.

Charles Tanqueray came from a family in which his father, grandfather and great uncle were all clergymen.  But our friend was not cut from the same cloth, so to speak.  So in 1830 he and his brother Edward decided to learn how to become gin distillers.  Pretty high calling, if you ask your faithful correspondent.  The brothers took over the Vine Street Distillery in 1835, but Edward passed away only a couple of years later and it was Charles’ role to run the business.  And he sure ran it, venturing across the globe to find spices and flavoring agents for a variety of gins.

About Gin

Now about that gin.  Charles was among the first people to create the London Dry style, concurrent with the invention of continuous distillation.  But the predominant style of gin in the 19th century was Old Tom gin.  Less juniper, more citrus, and sometimes with sugar added to hide the imperfections of poor technique meets pot still.  Now while resurrections of Old Tom gins are once again available from a few vendors, today we’re going with an 1837 recipe Charles himself concocted, recently resurrected by the Tanqueray distillery:  Tanqueray Malacca.  This is apparently what Old Tom gin aspired to be.

But fear not.  If you don’t have this specific spirit on hand at the moment you will do just fine with any of the current Japanese gins such as Nikka or Suntory Roku.  Even if you have made the grave error of keeping only London Dry around the house you won’t be shipped off to the Hall of Shame, but we do expect you take a moment to reflect upon and quickly mend your ways.

So now to our drink.  Today the Drink of the Day is going to be the Tom Collins.  Developed in the 19th century, wonderfully suited to a citrusy gin, and an honorable cocktail in its own right.  After all, the glass is named after it.  We also look at it as the progenitor for drinks like the Singapore Sling.  All in all the Tom Collins is pretty simple – it’s largely a lemonade soda with gin added.  What’s not to like about that?

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Appropriate for Charles Tanqueray's birthday, or for that matter any warm day, the Tom Collins is for all practical purposes an adult lemonade. If possible, try to use a gin with a flavor profile containing citrus rather than prominent juniper, but any will work. And, of course, if you skip the club soda and simply toss the results into a cocktail glass you'll have a classic gin sour.
No ratings yet



  • 1 ½ oz Gin
  • ¾ oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz Simple syrup
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: lemon slice and cherry


  • Add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to shaker with ice.
  • Shake until frosty cold.
  • Strain into Collins glass over fresh ice.
  • Top with club soda.
  • Garnish with lemon and cherry.
  • Drink.
Previous Post
The Caipirinha
Next Post
The Hoskins Cocktail and Amer Picon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Browse by Category
May we also suggest