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 It's a sour-style drink, originally made with gin as the base spirit.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.
Quick Facts Scotch Collins
- Method: Shaken & built in glass
- Flavor profile: well-balanced, refreshing
- How to serve it: over ice
- Best glassware: Collins glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 14% ABV, 19 grams of alcohol per serving
Scotch Whisky is known for its peated smoke flavor. Yet, for this drink, you'll want to use a Scotch with a restrained smoky taste.
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 1 Bar spoon
- 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.2 oz Scotch Whisky, 0.75 oz Lemon juice, 0.5 oz Rich simple syrup, 2-3 dash Peychaud's bitters
- 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.Chilled soda water
- Garnish with citrus peel and/or cherry, as preferred.
Our Recommendations for the Ingredients
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: 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. Opt for a more floral bottle like Clynelish or Ben Nevis.
- Fresh lemon juice: Squeeze it from fresh fruit for a great cocktail.
- Rich simple syrup: Simple syrup indicates a ratio of 1:1 sugar to water. For the Scotch Collins Cocktail, however, we recommend using rich syrup for a better-balanced 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.
- Peychaud's bitters: 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.
- Chilled soda water
- Garnish: The standard garnish for this type of drink is a citrus peel and/or a Maraschino cherry.
Why Use Peychaud's Bitters?
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.
Now, 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 will know what we talk about.
Tips to make a sensational Scotch Collins
To make a Scotch Collins, you shake part of the ingredients first. Then strain the contents from your shaker into your Collins glass and top it up with the bubbly soda.
Take a Collins glass and fill it up with large, clear ice cubes. If you have a so-called Collins stick - a long, rectangular ice block that fits the glass- that's even better.
Since you don't shake the soda water with ice, it should best come straight out of the fridge to ensure your cocktail is ice cold when it reaches the table.
Also, stir very gently once you have added the soda into the glass for it to maintain its fizz.
Related Cocktail Recipes
As mentioned, the Scotch Collins Collins is a member of an entire family of drinks. Besides the original - the John Collins- there are, for instance:
- the Tom Collins
- the Grapefruit Pisco Collins
- the Juan Collins with tequila
- the Pierre Collins with cognac
If you prefer to mix up some more Scotch drinks, how about these: