The Fred Collins Fiz
Add the rye, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a mixing glass. Shake.
Strain into a large glass half filled with crushed or shaved ice.
Add the Orange Liqueur.
Pour the Lemonade in a collins glass, then pour in the contents of the large glass.
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Donald, a reader in Portland, OR, and I recently exchanged tweets. It seems Donald is a fan of Sours and a nice Collins, but not so much of the stiffer drinks. The problem at the center of the exchange was a bottle of Rye sitting on Donald’s shelf. Was there a good, classic Rye drink that went a little easier with the punches than, say, a Manhattan? Of course, there was.
The Fred Collins Fiz comes via 1885’s New Guide for the Hotel, Bar, Restaurant, Butler, & Chef by Bacchus & Cordon Bleu. What’s wonderful about the way Ted Haigh presents it in “Vintage Spirits…” is that he lets the original words speak for themselves —
“The Celebrated Collins Drink is fizzing stuff, only I should be glad if our caterers would agree what it is to be perpetually named. One barkeeper calls it a John Collins–another Tom Collins. There are also Harry and Fred, all members of the same family. I prefer to call mine the Fred Collins Fiz.”
The John Collins mentioned by the author is, of course, a Genever based drink, whereas brother Tom is made with either dry or Old Tom. Of Harry, I have no knowledge. But Fred is the focus here, so it is him that we shall address.
It wasn’t until after I had begun this post that I had turned the page in “Vintage Spirits…” to find Haigh making the same observation that had immediately occurred to me: this is 19th Century Lynchburg Lemonade — or, at least, that modern drink’s grandfather. The recipe calls for either Bourbon or Rye, so feel free to attack this one as you please. The nice thing too about highballs is that, as long as you get the basics in place, there’s usually plenty of wiggle room to adjust the drink to taste.
If you plan to make your own lemonade, my typical recipe is a little less simple syrup than lemon juice, then water to taste. 2 parts Lemon Juice, 2 parts filtered water, and 1 part Simple Syrup is a good place to start. Obviously, make as you prefer.
So, Donald, meet Fred. Fred, meet Donald. Here’s hoping you two get along famously.
Flashback: When drinking something like the Fred Collins Fiz, I find it pretty amazing that I’m sipping a 125-year-old recipe — literally tasting history. To help get you into the mood, here’s a snapshot of highlights from 1885:
- The first purpose-built automobile, is built.
- Dr. Pepper is served for the first time.
- Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies.
- The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.
- Good Housekeeping Magazine goes on sale for the first time.
- Bicycle Playing Cards are first produced.
- Canadian Mounties battle the Cree Indians.
- George Patton is born.
- Victor Hugo and Ulysses S. Grant die.
- Professional football is legalized in Britain.
- The Washington Monument is dedicated.
- Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado opens.