How To Make A Vodka Collins

How To Make A Vodka Collins

Everyone loves a classic cocktail, and the Vodka Collins is no exception. This refreshing, fizzy beverage is perfect for sipping on a hot summer day or for mixing up at your next party. In this guide, we'll explore the history of the Vodka Collins and provide you with a step-by-step guide to making this classic concoction, along with some mouthwatering variations to try. Ready to become a Vodka Collins master? Let's dive in!

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What is a Vodka Collins?

The Vodka Collins is a popular highball cocktail made with vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water. It's a variation of the classic Tom Collins, which uses gin instead of vodka. This tall, refreshing drink is known for its crisp, delightful flavor and its fizzy, effervescent texture.

History of the Vodka Collins

The origins of the Collins can be traced back to the 19th century when the Tom Collins first appeared in American bartender Jerry Thomas's 1876 book, "The Bartender's Guide." The vodka variation gained popularity in the latter half of the 20th century, as vodka started to become more widespread in the United States.

Vodka Collins vs. Tom Collins

The primary difference between a Vodka Collins and a Tom Collins is the base spirit. While the Vodka Collins is made with vodka, a Tom Collins uses gin. As a result, the Vodka Collins tends to be smoother and lighter in flavor, while the Tom Collins has a more robust, herbal taste due to the botanicals in gin.

How to Make a Vodka Collins

Ready to mix up your own refreshing Vodka Collins? Here's the recipe:


  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup
  • Soda water
  • Lemon wheel or wedge, for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture over fresh ice in a Collins glass.
  4. Top with soda water, and give it a gentle stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with a lemon wheel or wedge and a maraschino cherry.

Vodka Collins Variations

Ready to put a creative spin on your Vodka Collins? Try one of these delicious variations:

Raspberry Vodka Collins

Muddle 4-5 fresh raspberries in the bottom of a shaker before adding the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake and strain into the glass as usual. Top with soda water and garnish with a few fresh raspberries.

Elderflower Vodka Collins

Replace the simple syrup with 0.5 oz of elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain). Follow the recipe instructions as usual, and garnish with a lemon wheel and an edible flower for an elegant touch.

Spicy Ginger Vodka Collins

Add 0.5 oz of ginger liqueur (like Domaine de Canton) to the shaker with the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake and strain as usual, then top with ginger beer for an added spicy kick.

How To Make A Vodka Collins Example:

Imagine you're hosting a summer garden party, and you'd like to serve a refreshing cocktail to your guests. Try setting up a DIY Vodka Collins bar! Provide vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, soda water, and an assortment of garnishes (lemon wheels, cherries, raspberries, and edible flowers). This way, your guests can mix their own perfect Vodka Collins while you enjoy the party as well. Don't forget to include ingredient cards with the recipes for the classic Vodka Collins and the variations mentioned above!

Now you're well-equipped to impress your friends and family with a perfectly mixed Vodka Collins. Not only have you learned about the history of this classic cocktail, but you're also prepared to whip up delicious variations to suit anyone's taste buds. So go ahead and master this timeless drink as you explore the wonderful world of vodka cocktails. Remember to share your newfound knowledge with others and check out our other guides on Vodka Doctors for more exciting vodka cocktails, tips, and tricks to elevate your mixology game. Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Vodka Collins?

A Vodka Collins is a refreshing cocktail that consists of vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water, typically garnished with a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry. It's a variation of the classic Tom Collins cocktail, which uses gin instead of vodka.

What are the exact ingredients for a Vodka Collins?

To make a Vodka Collins, you will need 2 oz of vodka, 1 oz of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz of simple syrup (or an equivalent amount of sugar), and carbonated water to top it off. Don't forget a slice of lemon and a cherry for garnish.

How do I make simple syrup for the cocktail?

Simple syrup is made by dissolving equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Store the syrup in a clean bottle or jar in the refrigerator.

Can I use bottled lemon juice?

While fresh lemon juice is preferred for its flavor, bottled lemon juice can be used in a pinch. However, be aware that bottled juice may contain preservatives and additives that can affect the taste of your cocktail.

What type of vodka should I use?

Use a quality vodka that you enjoy drinking. It doesn't have to be top-shelf, but a smoother vodka will result in a better-tasting cocktail.

Are there any variations of the Vodka Collins?

Yes, you can create variations by adding fruit purees, different syrups (like elderflower or raspberry), or herbs (like basil or mint). Another popular variant is the John Collins, which uses bourbon instead of vodka.

How should I serve a Vodka Collins?

A Vodka Collins should be served in a Collins glass with plenty of ice. Garnish with a lemon slice and a cherry on top.

How do I properly mix the cocktail?

Combine the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with carbonated water. Stir gently and garnish before serving.

Can I make a Vodka Collins in a pitcher for a party?

Yes, the Vodka Collins can easily be scaled up to serve a crowd. Just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you need and mix in a large pitcher. Keep it chilled and top with carbonated water individually when serving.

Is a Vodka Collins a strong drink?

The Vodka Collins is not particularly strong; it's more refreshing due to a higher ratio of non-alcoholic mixer to alcohol. However, like any cocktail, the strength can be adjusted to personal preference.

What's the best way to garnish a Vodka Collins?

The classic garnish is a slice of lemon and a maraschino cherry, but feel free to get creative with other fruit garnishes, a sprig of mint, or even a colorful straw for a fun presentation.

How can I make a non-alcoholic version?

For a "Virgin Collins," simply omit the vodka and follow the rest of the recipe. This provides a refreshing lemon-flavored soda that can be enjoyed by anyone abstaining from alcohol.

What type of glass is a Collins glass?

A Collins glass is tall and narrow, and it typically holds 10 to 14 ounces. It's similar to a highball glass but is slightly taller, making it perfect for serving drinks with more mixer than alcohol.

What if I don't have carbonated water?

If you don't have carbonated water, you can use club soda or seltzer as a substitute. In a pinch, tonic water could also work, but it will add its own quinine-flavor to the drink.

Can I use flavored vodka in a Vodka Collins?

Yes, flavored vodkas can add an interesting twist to your Vodka Collins. Citrus or berry-flavored vodkas are popular choices that complement the lemon juice nicely.

How much ice should I use?

Fill the Collins glass almost to the top with ice cubes. Using plenty of ice keeps the drink cold and dilutes the cocktail slightly for a well-balanced flavor as it melts.

Can I make a Vodka Collins ahead of time?

You can mix the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup ahead of time, but add the carbonated water just before serving to ensure the drink stays fizzy and fresh.

How can I sweeten my Vodka Collins if it's too tart?

If your cocktail is too tart, you can add more simple syrup to taste. Start with a small amount, stir, and taste; continue adjusting until it's to your liking.

Is there a specific type of carbonated water I should use?

Any form of unflavored carbonated water will work, so feel free to use what you have on hand. Avoid carbonated mineral waters with strong mineral tastes, as they can alter the flavor of your cocktail.

Can I batch prepare Vodka Collins to save time?

Yes, you can batch prepare the cocktail, but it's best to do so without the carbonated water. Store your mix in the fridge and add the carbonated water to each glass right before serving for optimum fizziness.

What food pairs well with a Vodka Collins?

The Vodka Collins, with its light and refreshing taste, pairs wonderfully with a variety of foods, especially appetizers, seafood, grilled chicken, and light salads. It's also excellent for brunch or alongside spicy dishes that benefit from the cocktail's cooling effect.

Can I adjust the alcohol content without compromising the taste?

Yes, you can adjust the alcohol content by either increasing or decreasing the amount of vodka. Just be aware that making the drink stronger will alter the balance of flavors. You might need to adjust the other ingredients accordingly to maintain a pleasant taste.

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Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

About Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

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