Large Formats of Classic Drinks Make Spring Parties Effortless

The Collins, the Gimlet, the Fruit Cup, and the Sling. All of the latter drinks are classic gin cocktails that have survived the vicissitudes of time because they are, quite simply, delicious. And, while the word “delicious” is extremely overused these days, particularly in the cocktail world, it’s an apt description here, summing up the refreshing nature, balanced flavors, and overall pleasant experience one experiences when sipping these drinks. The only thing more enjoyable might possibly be sharing a punch bowl or pitcher full of the same. Not only will you be indulging in liquid history, you will be keeping alive the conviviality of drinking with friends, as the punch bowl originally encouraged people to do.

As serendipity would have it, all of these drinks evolved or were created in a group setting — the collins in a London pub, the gimlet aboard ship by British naval men, the fruit cup at the lawn party or cricket game, and the eponymous Singapore sling at Raffles Hotel. So drink hearty in good company as your spring slips away into summer.

All recipes courtesy of Gary Hayward, Bombay Sapphire Brand Ambassador.

The Collins

The original Collins was not the ubiquitous dry gin-based Tom Collins of today, but rather the John Collins, originally a genever-based punch served with aplomb by John Collins, head waiter at Limmer’s Hotel in London. The drink and Mr. Collins himself were immortalized in verse by the Brothers Sheridan, who had clearly been drinking a Collins punch at the time.

In between the genever “John” and the modern dry gin version was the true “Tom” Collins, made with Old Tom gin. Old Tom, a sort of missing link between genever and dry gin, was sweeter than dry (hence unsweetened) gin and thus so was the punch, whereas the modern drink is a refreshing, crisp sipper, perfect for warm days, sporting events, and general daydreaming.

Gary Hayward pays tribute to the world of punch with the inclusion of tea, a traditional punch ingredient dating back centuries.

Sapphire Earl Grey Collins

Sapphire Earl Grey Collins

Photo Courtesy of Bombay Sapphire Gin

Sapphire Earl Grey Collins

Serves 5 people

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 3 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 3 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 5 oz. Earl Grey Tea
  • 5 oz. Club Soda

Preparation: Build with ice in punch bowl and stir.


The Gimlet

So many classic drinks began as medicinal remedies. (After all, the original ‘cocktail’ was a morning soporific.) Like the tonic water in the G & T warded off malaria for British soldiers abroad, the lime juice in the gimlet was instrumental in treating scurvy for British sailors. The Gimlet’s history is murky, as is that of many cocktails, but it is irrevocably connected to Rose’s Lime Cordial.

Patented in 1867, Rose’s delivered the necessary lime in a palatable (sweetened) – and non-spoiling – form, making it indispensable aboard ship. As they were want to do, British military men were enterprising and they quickly figured out a way to combine their lime with their gin ration. The Gimlet was born and cocktail lovers have never looked back. Purists would argue a gimlet isn’t a gimlet without Rose’s, but these days riffing on the classics is half the fun. Call it the new frontier of “medicine,” if you will.

Pineapple Sage Gimlet

Pineapple Sage Gimlet

Photo Courtesy of Bombay Sapphire Gin

Pineapple and Sage Gimlet

Serves 5 people

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 3 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 7 Sage Leaves
  • 5 oz. Pineapple Juice

Preparation: Build with ice in punch bowl and stir.


The Fruit Cup

What is now a tradition in England began as a way to disguise the slightly rugged flavor of gin back in the 19th century. In 1823, an enterprising fellow named James Pimm, known for his eponymous Oyster House, introduced the ‘house cup,’ by using gin as a base and adding herbs, spices, and liqueur to mask the somewhat still-unsophisticated flavor. After gin came other spirited cups. Today, the term ‘fruit cup’ or ‘summer cup’ defines any spirit or wine-based drink flavored with herbs and the like, then topped with lemonade, ginger ale or another mixer. The ‘fruit cup’ base is sold by a number of brands, including Plymouth, while the actuall Pimm’s original gin style is still available.

Here, Hayward adds heft by combining the Pimm’s with additional gin because, well, because why not? Tradition frequently dictates the addition of cucumber and orange, but you can customize as you will with strawberries like Hayward does or other summer fruits.

Gin Cup

Gin Cup

Photo Courtesy of Bombay Sapphire Gin

Gin Cup

Serves 5 people

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 4 oz. Pimm’s
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 7 1/2 oz. Ginger Ale
  • 10 Mint Sprigs
  • 10 Cucumber Slices
  • 5 Orange Wheels
  • 6 Strawberries

Preparation: Build with ice in punch bowl and stir.


Singapore Sling

A tiki drink made with gin? Why yes, yes indeed. While rum is the standard dram of choice, gin works beautifully in the right proportions and with the proper ingredients. The Singapore sling existed before the Cocktail (capital letter intended.) Depending on whether it was served hot or cold, spiced or not, it was known by turns as a toddy, sangaree, and other names. Spirit, sugar, water. Simple. Elegant.

The Singapore Sling is certainly not a “sling” by the historic definition, but it is a key drink int he evolution of the cocktail. As noted by Ted Haig, in his “Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails,” the Singapore Sling is “an individual, tropical-styled punch, and it is really the prototype of the future Tiki genre.” So, rum be-damned, bring on the punch. And pop an umbrella in it while you’re at it.

Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling

Photo Courtesy of Bombay Sapphire Gin

Singapore Sling

Ingredients:

  • 7 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 3 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 2 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz. Benedictine
  • 3 oz. Cherry Heering
  • 10 oz. Club Soda

Preparation: Build with ice in punch bowl and stir. Serves 5 people.