Some days things just don’t go right. Not that they go wrong, they just don’t go right. I had planned to make a different drink tonight, did all my prep work last night and everything. Only to realize the garnish I ordered hadn’t arrived yet, so I had to punt on that one. Not a big deal, adapt, move on, make something simple. What could go wrong? Well, we will see as we make the classic Tom Collins.
This used to be my go to drink, before I expanded my palate, I’d order a Vodka Collins in an attempt to sound more worldly. I was in a bar in Los Angeles back in the 90’s at the Bonaventure, where Christopher Walken famously danced the night away to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” and where Sage and I may or may not have presented an impromptu midnight concert on the grand piano. Anyway, I remember sitting there feeling like an impostor, not cool enough to be there, so not LA. I kinda panicked when the barkeep asked what I’d like, so I ordered the same thing that the very hip guy at the next table had ordered, a Tom Collins, vodka. I had no idea what it was, but the guy with the Ferrari ordered one and no one looked at him funny, so I gave it a go. It was nice, basically a fizzy alcoholic lemonade. Since it worked once, it became my thing. Satisfied with something that worked, that had the additional cachet of being what they drink “in LA”, I stayed in that rut, happily, for a long time. I honestly had not had one of these in years, hadn’t even really thought about it, but it’s a natural to revisit. So crank up the music and grab your tins, we’re gonna dance with an old sweetheart.
Instead of making my old vodka version I’m gonna go with the original gin. I find that the more I explore the less I am into vodka drinks. Nothing wrong with them, I just prefer the more complex flavors gin brings to the table. Anyway, 1 1/2 ounces of gin, I used Mischief. 1 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, half an ounce of simple syrup and 3-4 drops of 18-21 Earl Grey bitters. Add ice and shake, kinda like Christopher Walken dances in the video, perfectly and dispassionately. No point getting emotional over a cocktail. Double strain into a Collins glass, if you have one. I did, but they must’ve got cleaned out at some point because I couldn’t find one, so I grabbed a pint glass and filled it with ice. Just another thing that didn’t go quite right. Top that with three ounces of club soda and give it a light stir before garnishing with a lemon wheel and luxardo cherry. You’ll note that my lemon skin was discolored. I did not note that until the pictures were finished, some days huh? Lift it up, take a sip, remember those carefree days when you didn’t know any better but stumbled on to something wonderful. Try not to notice that at some point you picked up your photogenic lemon and set it down outside of the picture leaving a weird imbalance by the bitters. Not a problem, just a little thing that didn’t go right. It’s ok, you’re gonna have days like this. Let it go, Elsa. Brighter times are comin’. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.