Dihard, let us swear allegiance for my favorite summer drink is also the Tom Collins.
It’s my first summer in New York, and everyone was right – it’s hot here. And because there’s nothing better on a hot summer afternoon than a nice cool drink, I’d like to introduce to you my favorite summer drink, the Tom Collins.
Tom Collins was first introduced in 1874 in The Great Tom Collins Hoax. It went a little something like this:
“Have you seen Tom Collins? If you haven’t, perhaps you had better do so, and as quick as you can, for he is talking about you in a very rough manner – calling you hard names…” (Gettysburg Herald, 1874). People would go racing around town on a wild goose chase to find the fictitious character.
The hoax “belong[ed] to New York, where it was played with immense success to crowd houses until it played out.” Per the Steubenville Daily Herald in 1874, “frantic young men rushed wildly through the streets of the city on Saturday hunting for libelous Tom Collins.” They were often directed to the local bar, where Tom Collins had just left for another bar across town.
Newspapers propagated the hoax by printing sightings and urging citizens to find the slanderer. The Decatur, Illinois Daily Republican printed “Tom Collins Still Among Us,” in June 1874. “This individual kept up his nefarious business of slandering our citizens all day yesterday. But we believe that he succeeded in keeping out of the way of his pursuers. In several instances he came well nigh being caught, having left certain places but a very few moments before the arrival of those who were hunting him. His movements are watched to-day with the utmost vigilance.” Once the papers realized the hoax, they continued the propagation, reporting false sightings and projecting Collins’ next move.
So how did the Hoax turn Drink? Per cocktail historian Eric Felten, who has an ever intriguing weekly cocktail column in the Wall Street Journal, “It doesn’t take much to imagine how Tom Collins came to be a drink. How many times does someone have to barge into a saloon demanding Tom Collins before the bartender takes the opportunity to offer him a cocktail so-named?”
There’s where it gets tricky. The first Tom Collins recipe dates to the 1876 edition of Jerry Thomas’ “The Bartenders Guide.”
The Recipe is:
(use small bar-glass)
Take 5 or 6 dashes of gum syrup
Juice of a small lemon
1 large wine-glass of Gin
2 to 3 lumps of ice;
Shake up well and strain into a large bar-glass. Fill up the glass with plain soda water and imbibe while it is lively.
However, there’s an old “John Collins Limerick”
My name is John Collins,
head waiter at Limmer’s,
Corner of Conduit Street,
My chief occupation is filling brimmers
For all the young gentlemen frequenters there.
which is cited as evidence that the John Collins drink (the recipe above, but with oude genever gin, which had a whiskey–like body and juniper notes) was created in England by John Collins, a waiter at Limmer’s Old House in London. The Tom Collins was just an adaptation that substituted a sweeter gin for the whiskey-ish gin and was named “Tom” Collins because the brand of gin was Old Tom.
That story has been disputed, however. The limerick may have actually read “Jim” and was mistranslated, and the drink that the Limmer House was claiming may have been the Gin Punch. Beverage historians have yet to agree on a common story.
Either way, it’s a delightful summer drink, referred to as “the king of cooling drinks.” It used to be the official drink of the summer. In my book, it still is.
I’m making it with: 1½-2 oz gin, juice of ½ lemon, ½ oz simple syrup (boil 2 parts sugar, 1 part water until syrupy), 4 oz soda water. Build it on the rocks in a Collins glass. Garnish with cherry. Note – don’t order at a bar. They’ll use lemon-lime mix. Yuck.
And this isn’t even even the most outrageous banknote in history. The Economist lists the highest-denomination national banknotes since 1900. They are:
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 Hungary Pengo, 1946
100,000,000,000,000 Germany Papiermark, 1923
500,000,000,000 Former Yugoslavia Dinar, 1993
100,000,000,000 Zimbabwe Dollar, 2008
100,000,000,000 Greece Drachma, 1944
50,000,000 Poland Marka, 1923
Zimbabwe ranks fourth, though its status may soon change. The central bank governor announced the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will remove “more zeros” from the country’s currency - 10 to be exact. And it will resuscitate the use of coins that were earlier abandoned due to hyperinflation.
What’s hyperinflation? It’s when inflation is out of control. Prices increase rapidly and currency loses value. A classic trigger is extremely rapid growth in the supply of paper money. A nation issues large quantities of money, often to pay for a large stream of government expenditures. The more money issued the less valuable it is. Inflation in Zimbabwe is officially pegged at 2.2million percent, with the value of goods doubling every 21 to 25 days.
In further efforts to curb cash shortages, the RBZ will also increase the withdrawal allowance to $200b. Before now, despite outrageous inflation, the RBZ limited cash withdrawals for individuals and corporations to $100 billion daily. That’s barely enough to buy a single candle in a country where power outages are frequent. Uniformed forces, however, were able to withdraw $1trillion daily.
The new currency will be issued August 1, per the RBZ. But how will they print the new currency? Earlier this month, the Germany company Giesecke and Devrient that has been Zimbabwe’s banknote paper supplier for 40 years halted its supply in protest of Zimbabwe’s deteriorating political and social-economic situation.