Thursday, February 3, 2011

Friends, This Is Tom; Tom, Friends

Thanks for coming by for Week 3 of 'Drinking With Dan'. I hope you all enjoyed meeting my friend Harvey last week, I know he can get a bit rowdy but who doesn't like a little excitement now and again? I thought I'd introduce you to a more laid-back friend this week, some a little more.... sophisticated.

Tom Collins

Awwwww yeah, now THAT'S sophisticated!

This is another one of those old, old drinks with a murky pedigree that even cocktail historians have had a hard time keeping straight. If your were alive in 1874 and someone asked you if you'd seen Tom Collins, then you were about to become the victim of a strange and Byzantine practical joke - the Pink'd of its day - known as the Great Tom Collins Hoax. That may have inspired the name of this cocktail, which just as plausibly could have come from a mash-up of John Collins - a London head-waiter who had a popular gin punch named after him - and Old Tom, the brand of sweet gin originally used to make this drink. Who really knows for sure? All we do know is the Tom Collins was all the rage in the 1870s and should be consumed, in the words of noted epicure David Embury, author of The Fine Art of Making Drinks, "slowly, with reverence and meditation."

From the Book of Fred, 90, Retired janitor,
"I never had a threesom, but it's bound to happen soon."
Hallelujah, Praise be to Fred.

2oz gin
1oz lemon juice
1tsp superfine sugar (berry sugar)
3oz club soda
Maraschino cherry

Whoh, whoh, whoh. Gin? Already? Couldn't we have drawn this out for a few more weeks before we had to dive into the *wretch* gin? Alright so if it's time lets ease into it with a nice, classic beverage and a diluted gin taste.

The first thing to accomplish was picking up a cocktail shaker. Four stores later we had our shaker finally and we were able to pick up the ingredients and get home for some dinner and a little Weeds. After touching base with our Denver correspondent Nathan (a former bartender and current cool-cat) that gin was finally on the menu his initial guess was Gin Rickey's (which will be coming up later in the book). Then is was time for a little shake-shake-shake, shake-shake-shake, shake your booty!

So you throw the gin & juice into a shaker with ice and the sugar and give it a toss, pour it over ice in a tall glass and you add some club soda & top it with a cherry. It has a pretty clean taste initially, the tartness of the lemon and gin is offset by the sugar and the club soda gives it a little pop as it rolls over your tongue. A point of fact: the reason for using berry sugar is that it can be dissolved in cold water so don't try to cheap-out and put whatever you've got in there as a substitute. Do the right thing, get the right stuff,  you deserve it! The key for drinking Tom Collins is understand that this is NOT a drink that you'll be getting bombed with, not if you have any plans the following day. It packs a huge punch and its a smooth, sipping drink moreso than something you guzzle. I will point out that towards the end of the evening (sometime between 2am and 3am) when all the ice in my glass had melted and the remnants were pooled in a puddle at the bottom of the glass I gave it one last swig and tasted what I'm sure my grandmother's socks must taste like. That's the gin for ya; just when you think you made it out on a good note....

Final Thoughts: Pretty good opening salvo into the Gin part of our programme (which is quite extensive), it was a nice transition while at the same time firing a few shots across the bow of what the Gin may have in store in the future. By the way, I am no more at ease now having finally tasted gin about the abomination that will come from Gin & Milk. I'm going to have to psyche myself up for that at least 2 days leading up to it. For a rating of the Tom Collins, I give it 3 fedora's out of a Frank Sinatra lounge act. Impressed, but also respectful of the fury it could cause. Beware of possible emotional breakdowns lasting 2 days that may also lead to friendship redefining and possibly leaving work early. It's Gin, someone shoulda known it was coming....

Say goodnight Tom, "Goodnight Tom"

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