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Lavender Tom Collins

Photo and cocktail by Clayton Crawford.

Many of us spent time in our lives waiting tables at some point, and it doesn’t take long to understand that it is a demanding, often thankless career. However, there are rewarding moments, like when the tip is more than you expected, or a special family meal is just right, or when that smiling regular walks in and brightens your day. Since today is National Waitstaff Day, we are offering a new take on a classic cocktail created as one of the best inside jokes in the service industry, the Tom Collins.

If you were out late celebrating in 1874, then someone might say to you something along the lines of “I heard Tom Collins said your hat looked silly.” Naturally, you’d want to track down this slanderer and inform him that you’re hat was the peak of 19th-century fashion, but there was a catch: there was no Tom Collins. It’s one of the oldest pranks in American history, and all over the country, people would stumble into bars asking around for Tom Collins. The kind waitstaff and bartenders of the time likely shook their heads at the fool’s futile interrogations, and eventually, they concocted the famous Tom Collins, a bright, citrusy cocktail to refresh the poor, parched prankee.

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According to legend, the servers of the time placed the drink in front of their bemused customer with a sly smirk, and the Tom Collins cemented itself firmly in history. So this National Waitstaff Day, visit your favorite server, tip well, and order a Tom Collins. If you’d rather celebrate at home, mix up this new take on the classic highball and raise a glass to the brave, hard-working men and women of the service industry.

Photo and cocktail by Clayton Crawford.

Lavender Tom Collins

Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients

  • 2 OZ. GIN (LIKE PRAIRIE ORGANIC GIN)
  • 1 OZ. FRESH LEMON JUICE
  • 1 OZ LAVENDER SYRUP (SEE PRO TIPS)
  • TOP WITH SODA WATER

Garnish

  • LEMON WHEEL (SEE PRO TIPS) 
  • DRIED LAVENDER BUDS (OPTIONAL)

Directions

Pro Tips

  • To make a quick and easy lavender syrup, all you have to do is bring one cup of water to a boil. Stir in 2 cups of whites sugar until dissolved, then add roughly 3-4 drops of vanilla extract. Finally, drop in about 3 tablespoons of lavender flowers (they can be dried or fresh), let steep for 30 minutes to an hour, and strain out the buds. Then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This should be enough syrup to make about 8-10 drinks. If you have the wildflower cordial Creme de Violette, an ounce of that will elevate this syrup and bring out a rich lavender color, but it is not necessary.
  • To make a quick lemon wheel garnish, simply slice a section from the middle of a lemon roughly a quarter-inch thick. Remove any seeds that might be present, and make another cut from the center of the lemon out to the edge, and use this incision to perch the wheel on the rim of the glass.

SUSTAINABLE SPIRITS

Prairie Organic Spirits make their organic spirits with Minnesota corn from local farmers, and they distill their small-batch gin and vodka to taste. As one of the few 100 percent certified organic liquors’ on the market, they invest heavily in growing crops the old-fashioned way. They also donate one percent of their profits to advancing the education of the next generation of organic farmers. Their award-winning sustainable spirits are an easy and affordable way to drink better cocktails

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