You don't need to be an Ian Fleming international spy to enjoy a refreshing Rum Collins! Enjoy this exotic, tropical twist on a traditional cocktail favorite.
Rum is the Star in this Collins
When it comes to classic cocktails, almost anything that James Bond drank in the early, iconic spy movies is a perfect example of mid century style. This drink made its Bond debut in 1965's Thunderball starring Sean Connery. The Rum Collins is similar to a Tom Collins, but instead of dry gin, this one uses rum and citrus juice and a slice of lemon. The combination really gives the drink the feel of a Caribbean happy hour.
Meet the Collins Family of Cocktail Recipes
There are a number of drinks in the Collins family, all utilizing different base spirits (with a few other tweaks to each recipe):
- Tom Collins: Gin (such as Old Tom Gin) is the base spirit.
- Ron Collins: Spiced rum (such as Captain Morgan) is the base spirit.
- Michael Collins: Irish Whiskey (such as Jameson) is the base spirit.
- John Collins: Bourbon (such as Maker's Mark) is the base spirit.
- Juan Collins: Tequila (such as Patron) is the base spirit.
- Phil Collins: Vodka (such as Belvedere) is the base spirit.
- Bootsy Collins: Vodka is the base spirit, topped with Prosecco (such as Mionetto.)
The Collins drinks craze started in the late 1800's with the Tom Collins cocktail. It continued to be popular in New York during Prohibition because bootlegged gin was readily available, but tasted awful. Because the Tom Collins used sugar and soda water, it masked the poor-tasting gin and was one of the best cocktails available at that time. Over the years, there have been a number of Collins cocktails made with Old Tom gin, Bourbon and even tequila as the base spirit. Some people experiment with orange juice or add a dry vermouth, but I've never found them necessary. The simple Rum Collins cocktail recipe is the best one and is always at the top of every bartender's guide of standard drinks.
Just a few simple ingredients are all that's needed for a Rum Collins. This easy recipe includes:
This tasty take on a Collins is pretty straightforward, and requires just a few ingredients:
- Light White Rum (or you can substitute 2 fl oz. light golden rum for more flavor.)
- Fresh lime juice (remember juice of lime for Rum Collins; fresh lemon juice for Tom Collins.)
- Powdered sugar (so no need for simple syrup) keeps this from being a sour cocktail.
- Club Soda or Soda water for a splash of carbonated water.
- Lemon slice or a lemon wedge (or a lime wedge in a pinch.)
- Maraschino cherry for garnish is purely optional.
- And don't forget the ice cubes -- this drink is best when it is served ice cold in a tall glass such as a Collins glass or Highball glass.
Bar Tools Needed
This classic cocktail stays popular because it is so easy to make. It doesn't 'require' any special tools, but here are a few basics your bar most likely already has that will make a good drink every time out:
- Cutting board
- Bar knife (I like this one by Hammer Stahl)
- Bar spoon
- Mixing glass or cocktail shaker
How to Make this Rum Collins Cocktail
This refreshing taste of the tropics is very easy to make. Just follow these steps:
- Place a handful of fresh ice cubes in a tall, thin Collins glass and set aside
- Place another handful of fresh ice in a cocktail shaker
- Pour in the fresh-squeezed lime juice
- Add the two ounces of rum--the recipe calls for white rum
- Pour in the powdered sugar
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to mix up the sugar
- Strain into a Collins glass and add some seltzer or club soda on top
- Garnish with lemon wedges (cherries if desired)
Tips for Success
Here's a few pointers for how to serve up a tasty Rum Collins:
- Take the time to fresh squeeze your lime juice. The pre-bottled lime juices often contain added sugars and preservatives that can ruin the taste of a cocktail.
- Go easy on the lime juice as it is very strong and can overpower the drink. I start by using only a half ounce and adding more if desired.
- Use a quality light rum for mixing. Inferior-tasting rum will impact the flavor of your drink. I prefer to drink a gold rum rather than a white rum. A gold rum has been aged in a charred oak barrel. My personal preference is for the aged rum with a smoother and less harsh taste than some white rums. These are much more enjoyable than a drink made with a high alcohol content like an overproof rum.
Frequently Asked Questions
A tall, thin glass is usually referred to as a Collins glass. They typically hold between 10 and 14 ounces of liquid.
Though both cocktails are served in similar-looking glasses, the Highball glass will tend to be larger and hold more liquid since a Highball usually consists of only two ingredients, a mixer and a spirit.
Next time you're looking to beat the heat, be like James Bond and reach for a Rum Collins. What's your favorite 007 cocktail?
Before you go, did you try this cocktail? Why not leave a comment in the Comments section along with a rating? I always appreciate hearing from you and getting your feedback.
The Rum Collins is Good Enough to Die For
- 2 ounces white or gold rum
- 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- Splash of seltzer
- Lemon wheel and cherry for garnish
- Add two scoops of ice to a cocktail shaker.
- Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds to dissolve the powdered sugar.
- Strain into a tall Collins glass.
- Add lemon and cherry garnishes.