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The Vodka Collins is a sweet tart highball cocktail that’s a spin on the classic Tom Collins! This bubbly drink recipe always hits the spot.

Vodka Collins

It’s tall, it’s bubbly, and it goes down easy: it’s the Vodka Collins! This spin on the Tom Collins is essentially a sparkling vodka lemonade. It’s easy to drink and it’s classic: the base drink goes all the way back to the 1870’s when cocktails were just stating to emerge. Take one sip and it’s sweet tart, bubbly and ultra refreshing. It’s one the vodka drinks we love best.

What’s in a Vodka Collins?

The Vodka Collins cocktail is a highball drink with vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and soda water. It’s a spin on the classic cocktail the Tom Collins, which dates back to at least 1869, supposedly named after a waiter in London by that name. Over the years it’s spawned other variations like the John Collins (with whiskey), and the tall glass it’s served in is often called a “Collins glass.”

Exactly when the Vodka Collins came along is unknown, but it’s a popular variation on the theme. You might not immediately notice, but the ingredients are the same as a sparkling vodka lemonade. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Vodka Collins

How to make a Vodka Collins

Like most highball cocktails, you can build a Vodka Collins in the glass! That means no need for dirtying a cocktail shaker. Here’s what to do (or jump right to the recipe):

  1. Pour the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a glass. Add ice.
  2. Top off with soda water. Use as much as you’d like, and whatever fits in your glass.
  3. Garnish! Top it off with a cocktail cherry and lemon wedge. If you’d like, add a fun straw!

Notes on the soda water

What’s soda water? It’s our catch-all term for sparkling water, club soda, and seltzer. Here are the various options for adding bubbles to a Vodka Collins:

  • Seltzer, aka soda water or sparkling water is carbonated water with no additives, carbonated by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s the base for brands like La Croix, or what comes out of a SodaStream. Sparkling mineral water is made with water from a mineral spring, like Perrier or Topo Chico. You can use any of these brands to make a Vodka Collins! (In fact, it’s delicious with La Croix.)
  • Club soda is carbonated water infused with added minerals, which give it a salty or lightly sweet flavor. It’s just as good as the above options, and you won’t notice a major flavor difference.
Vodka Collins

Step it up: garnishes and clear ice

You can make a Vodka Collins with no garnishes and it tastes great: but it looks like a glass of water. Here’s how to really make it shine with garnishes:

  • Add a lemon wheel and cocktail cherry. These small adders take the drink to the next level.
  • Use clear ice! Clear ice is crystal clear ice cubes instead of cloudy ice from an ice tray. You can make it at home using a smaller cooler or a clear ice maker, and it’s the key to making an impressive drink. Go to How to Make Clear Ice.

Variations on the Collins

The Collins has spawned many variations with various liquors, syrups, and other flavorings. Here are our top favorite Collins drinks to try:

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Vodka Collins

Vodka Collins

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Vodka Collins is a sweet tart highball cocktail that’s a spin on the classic Tom Collins! This bubbly drink recipe always hits the spot.




  1. Add the vodka, simple syrup and lemon juice to the highball glass and add ice.
  2. Top off the glass with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wheel and cocktail cherry.


*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Vodka collins

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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    1. Sonja, I was wondering if I could use maple syrup for this drink instead of simple syrup?
      What a wonderful job you have done with your website.
      Thank you.
      Best regards, Susan.