What do you do when the sun is blazing and you're yearning for something super refreshing and easy to make? The answer is simple: whip up a Strawberry Collins cocktail!
This fruity riff on the classic Tom Collins combines the natural sweetness of strawberries, the tanginess of lemon, and the botanicals of Gin. The result? A refreshingly delicious drink that's perfect for beating the heat!
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What is a "Collins" Cocktail?
A "Collins" cocktail is a type of mixed drink that typically consists of a spirit, lemon juice, simple syrup, and carbonated water.
While a classic Tom Collins is usually made with Gin, you can certainly make this Strawberry Collins with Vodka, Rum, Tequila, or another spirit instead. The great thing about it is that it's super versatile, so you can use different liquors, flavored syrups, and herbs to create all sorts of variations!
And if you don't drink booze, leave it out! Simply add more club soda to create a fresh Strawberry Collins mocktail.
Strawberry Collins Ingredients
What I love about Collins cocktails is that you can typically make them with whatever's in season or whatever you have at home. For this summer variation, you need just five simple ingredients:
- FRESH STRAWBERRIES: At the heart of this Strawberry Tom Collins recipe lies the star ingredient itself: fresh strawberries. But how you use them is up to you! You can blend them to make a strawberry puree. You can infuse them into your simple syrup. Or you can keep it simple by muddling them into your cocktail as you make it. In this recipe, I opted for a combination of infused strawberry syrup + muddling as noted in the recipe card instructions below.
- SPIRIT OF CHOICE: Personally, I'm a Gin gal. To me, the botanical notes of Gin both balance the sweetness of this Strawberry Collins drink and complement its tartness. But if you don't like Gin or you have another spirit on hand, feel free to switch it up!
- FRESH LEMON JUICE: A staple in Collins cocktails, lemon adds freshness to this drink while also brightening its berry flavors. I like to stick with classic flavors in mine, but you can certainly use fresh lime juice in place of lemon juice if you prefer.
- SIMPLE SYRUP: To enhance the sweetness of the strawberry juice and offset the citrusy notes of the lemon, a touch of simple syrup is added. That said, if your strawberries are super sweet or you prefer cocktails that err on the tart side you can leave it out.
- SPARKLING WATER: A hallmark of Collins cocktails is their effervescent nature. Soda water imparts a lively fizz and provides the refreshing element that this classic cocktail is known for.
- GARNISHES: There's no right or wrong way to garnish a Strawberry Collins! Some of my favorites include a strawberry slice, a lemon twist, or a sprig of fresh herbs.
How to Make a Strawberry Tom Collins Cocktail
Now that you have your ingredients ready, let's get mixing! Simply follow these few easy steps to create this classic Tom Collins cocktail riff:
- MUDDLE STRAWBERRIES: Place 2-3 sliced ripe strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or the back of a spoon, gently mash them to release their juices.
- SQUEEZE THE LEMON JUICE: Squeeze your lemons until you have ¾ ounce and pour it into the shaker. I typically use a handheld citrus juicer or a 2-in-1 juicer to squeeze and a Japanese jigger to measure.
- SWEETEN WITH SIMPLE SYRUP: Add ½ ounce of simple syrup (or strawberry simple syrup) to the mixture. I prefer my cocktails to be more tart than sweet, so add more if you like a sweeter drink.
- ADD THE SPIRIT AND SHAKE: Add your chosen spirit and shake until combined. I typically shake this mixture without ice, but you do you!
- POUR AND GARNISH: Pour the mixture into the bottom of a Collins glass or Highball glass. (If you don't like fruit bits in your cocktails, strain it instead. I recommend using a combination of a Hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh sieve to ensure a "clean" drink.) Fill the glass with ice cubes, top with club soda, and give it a gentle stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with a strawberry, lemon wedge, and/or a sprig of herbs. I used mint in mine because I currently have a plethora of it growing in my garden!
Strawberry Tom Collins Variations
While the classic Strawberry Collins recipe is fresh and delicious on its own, here are a few variations to experiment with:
- STRAWBERRY MINT COLLINS: Muddle several fresh mint leaves together with the strawberries to give it an extra refreshing flavor. You can also infuse your simple syrup with a couple of mint sprigs if you want an additional minty boost.
- STRAWBERRY CUCUMBER COLLINS: Down here in Georgia, strawberries and cucumber are staple ingredients in the summer. So there's no better way to create the perfect blend of savory and sweet than muddling them together in this Strawberry Gin Collins!
- STRAWBERRY BASIL TOM COLLINS: Basil is another go-to herb at my house that I use in E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G during the summer. Like both cucumber and mint, basil adds a yummy herbal touch to this fresh Collins cocktail that balances its sweetness and creates a bit of depth.
The sky's the limit when it comes to possible variations on this Strawberry Collins Cocktail Recipe. So get creative and have fun experimenting with your own combinations of spirits, herbs, fruits, and even spices!
More Refreshing Summer Cocktails
When it comes to summer sips, variety is the spice of life! So whether you've been a fan of classic Gin cocktails for a long time or simply want a refreshing drink to enjoy any time of year, here are some more refreshing cocktail recipes to try:
- PASSION FRUIT DAIQUIRI: Tangy passion fruit combines with Rum and lime for a mouthwatering burst of flavor.
- FRENCH BLONDE COCKTAIL: This sophisticated blend of Gin, Lillet Blanc, Elderflower Liqueur, and grapefruit is a timeless choice for warm evenings on the terrace.
- VODKA SUNRISE: Vodka, orange juice, and a touch of grenadine create a visually stunning drink that's as delicious as it is eye-catching.
- PINEAPPLE MOJITO: Fresh pineapple chunks, mint leaves, and a splash of Rum come together in this Caribbean-inspired cocktail that's perfect for beach days and backyard barbecues.
- FRENCH GIMLET: A blend of Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, and lime juice, this cocktail offers a delightful fusion of botanicals and floral notes.
Strawberry Collins Recipe: The Wrap-Up
Whether you're enjoying a happy hour treat for yourself or sharing drinks with friends, this Strawberry Tom Collins recipe offers a burst of fruity freshness that embodies the essence of summer in every sip!
With the vibrant sweetness of fresh strawberries, the zesty kick of lemon, and the festive fizz of club soda, this fun twist on a classic Gin cocktail is a true celebration of the season.
A writer and photographer, Allie Albanese is the founder and curator of Parched Around the World. Here she seeks to tell stories about the intersection of food, drinks, cultures, and traditions in places near and far.
As the Beverage Director and Head Bartender of a high-volume cocktail bar, Allie spent years honing her mixology skills and learning about the fascinating world of drinks. In the time since, she's worked as a wine and cocktail consultant for both private and corporate clients, as well as a freelance journalist writing about cocktails, wine, food, and travel for various publications across the United States and abroad.
When mixing a drink for herself, you’ll likely find Allie with a fresh Gin Gimlet or a spicy Old Fashioned in hand!