Autumn, Drinks

Blackberry & Bay Collins

You can't beat a classic, gin-based Tom Collins cocktail. It's simple, refreshing, and hits the spot every time.

I often have one as it comes, with a slice of lemon or a maraschino cherry – but sometimes, its nice to mix things up. Right now, blackberries are filling the hedgerows, and they pair particularly well with bay.

Here, I'm making a simple syrup with some bay leaves. You could always just muddle a few leaves in with the berries instead, which is a quicker method, but one that won't yield such a strong flavour. I would recommend trying the syrup, though, as it's very simple, and well worth the little effort required.

The amount of bay syrup made here is enough to make two or three drinks each, but you could always make a bigger batch and keep some for later – it keeps very well, and is great drizzled on fresh fruit.



For the bay syrup

¼ cup caster sugar

¼ cup water

10 fresh bay leaves

For the Collins

4oz London Dry gin

2oz lemon juice

1oz bay syrup, or regular simple syrup

2 fresh bay leaves

4 blackberries


To serve


Club soda

A few fresh blackberries

2 fresh bay leaves


  1. Place the sugar, water and bay leaves in a small saucepan, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil for a few minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool, and allow the bay to infuse. Once cool, you can store the bay syrup in a serialised bottle with a few fresh bay leaves until needed.
  2. When you're ready to make your drinks, add the Collins ingredients to a cocktail shaker, top with ice, and shake vigorously for one minute.
  3. Fill two glasses with ice, strain over the Collins, and top up with club soda. Serve garnished with a few blackberries and a fresh bay leaf.

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