Anonymous (definitely not Tom Collins in 1L)
“Tom Collins, like the drink.” I must have heard that a hundred times by now. Every class. Every party. Every time he introduces himself, that’s his line. And if you forget his name, he hints, “I’m a delicious drink.” I can’t tell if he is being ironic or if he really believes in his own wit. But does anyone even know what a Tom Collins is? And is it really as tasty as Tom Collins suggests? At this year’s Law Ball, I decided to find out.
The Tom Collins was the signature drink of the evening. Tom Collins had named the Ball and the Law Ball Committee had acknowledged his contribution with that honour. Tom Collins was there. He was dressed in a black velvet evening suit with satin peak lapels. It was an outfit that almost demanded a cocktail as an accessory. And he had one. Guess what it was.
Actually, he was drinking a gin and tonic. When I brought that to his attention, he laughed.
“Yeah, someone got this for me,” Tom Collins said, winking mischievously. I’m not sure what innuendo that wink was meant to communicate. “Where’s your drink?” he asked. “You should have a Tom Collins!”
Tom Collins told me that the mixes at the bar were better than the pale ones being shopped around the room by waiters. The bar was crowded. I must have waited for five minutes while other partygoers ordered their vodka-waters (or, as I call them, disgusting). It did not, however, take long to make my order. The bartender dropped some ice in my glass, tossed in a shot of gin, and then poured in some pale-green liquid from an enormous white plastic jug. Finally, she topped up my glass with soda water. I skipped the straw, because I love the sea turtles. I know it was a free drink (albeit one I paid $95, service fees extra, to access), at a school dance, but I thought there would be more graceful ritual involved in the preparation of such an ostensibly classic drink.
I walked back over to where Tom Collins was standing. He seemed pleased with his new role as tastemaker. I asked Tom Collins what was in his namesake drink. His response was automatic: “Two jiggers [3 oz] of gin, the juice of one lemon—but they’re using limes, here—one tablespoon of simple syrup; fill the glass with ice and, in whatever room is left, fill it with club soda.”
“The tallest of tall drinks,” Tom Collins concluded in a goofy, suave tone, quoting attorney and eminent mixologist Mr. David Augustus Embury. Tom Collins watched intently as I took a sip.
“How do I taste?” He asked with a cheeky grin and another wink. Well, delicious it was not. It was kind of like fizzy lemonade, but someone had forgotten the sugar. I made a face and Tom Collins laughed. “Yeah, they were better earlier in the night. I think they’ve been watering them down.” Or maybe Tom Collins was just in denial, having invested so much of his unique brand in what turned out to be an altogether ordinary drink.