Collins cocktails have a long history that dates back to the 1800s. It's a sour-style drink, originally made with Gin as the base spirit. The Scotch or Sandy Collins is one of many riffs on the classic John Collins recipe.
Scotch Whisky is known for its peated smoke flavor. However, in this drink, you want to use a Scotch with a restrained smoky taste.
Ingredients of a Scotch Collins
Collins cocktails are known for being super refreshing. The reason is the combination of fresh lemon juice and chilled soda water. These two ingredients bring in citric acidity as well as some bubbles.
But there are more ingredients that make or break a great Scotch or Sandy Collins. Here's what you need:
- Scotch Whisky
- Fresh lemon juice
- Rich simple syrup
- Peychaud's bitters
- Chilled soda water
Scotch in a Sandy Collins
When using a Scotch in a Collins cocktail, you should consider using a less smoky bottle. An overly peated Scotch will not work well combined with lemon juice and soda water.
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid overly woody, oaky, and smoky Scotch options. Instead, opt for a more floral bottle like Clynelish or Ben Nevis.
Rich simple syrup
Standard simple syrup is a great option to sweeten a drink in most cocktail recipes. -Simple syrup means a ratio of 1:1 sugar to water.
Yet, for a Scotch Collins, I recommend using a rich syrup for a better-balanced, more refreshing drink.
Rich simple syrup means that instead of equal parts of sugar to water, there are 2 parts sugar per 1 part water. That makes it sweeter and also a bit thicker. That changes not only the taste but also the mouthfeel of the drink.
Peychaud's bitters and Angostura bitters are the most popular aromatic cocktail bitters. In most classic cocktails, Angostura bitters are used to add aromatic flavors and depth to a drink. But not in the Scotch Collins.
A classic John Collins goes without the addition of bitters. However, in Whiskey or Whisky-based twists on the recipe, adding cocktail bitters is essential to get a better-balanced cocktail.
And while a Whiskey Collins based on Bourbon usually requires Angostura bitters, a Scotch Collins is better flavored with Peychaud's bitters.
Scotch and Peychaud's are just a much better fit than Scotch and Angostura bitters. Give it a try, and you'll see what I mean.
How to make a Scotch Collins
To make a Scotch Collins, you shake part of the ingredients first. Then strain the drink and top it up with the soda.
Take a Collins glass and fill it up with ice. Then add Scotch, lemon juice, syrup, and bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake the ingredients until the drink is well-chilled.
Strain into the chilled and ice-filled Collins glass and top up with chilled soda water. Optionally, garnish with citrus peel and/or a Maraschino cherry.
- 2 oz Scotch Whisky
- 0.75 oz Lemon juice
- 0.5 oz Rich simple syrup
- 2-3 dash Peychaud's bitters
- Chilled soda water
- Put Scotch, lemon juice, rich simple syrup, and Peychaud's bitters into an ice-filled cocktail shaker.
- Shake until the drink is chilled or the shaker is frosted on the outside.
- Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass and top up with chilled soda water.
- Garnish with citrus peel and/or cherry, as preferred.