Make room for Tom’s sister, Belle! This tall glass of minty-lemon flavoured cocktail is cold and refreshing. Prepared with simple ingredients like fresh mint leaves and lemon juice, gin, sugary syrup, and soda, it’s sure to wake up your senses! When it comes to drinks suited for lounging in the backyard on a hot, summer day, nothing beats Tom’s sister, Belle!
I’ve been testing a lot of cocktail recipes lately, and as much as I love anything made with cranberry juice, this minty cocktail has got to be in my top five! A Belle Collins Cocktail is the sister cocktail to the popular Tom Collins. The only difference between the two is the addition of the fresh mint leaves. Simple enough, but it makes a huge difference!
Just like when I made the Tom Collins, I prepared two versions of this one too. The first version I stayed true to the recipe I was working with. I used the fresh mint, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda. But, I don’t like the taste of club soda. In my opinion, there wasn’t enough minty flavour, lemon juice, or simple syrup to offset the taste of it. So, I prepared a second version.
The second version was much better, in my opinion. Not only did I happen to boost both the mint and lemon flavour, while maintaining the bubble and fizz one would get from the club soda, but I was also able to get a hint of lime in there too. The drink was still light and refreshing, because, you see, Dear Reader, I substituted the club soda with lemon-lime soda. It was delicious!
SIMPLE SYRUP OR SUGARY SYRUP
A simple syrup is a very common ingredient in the world of cocktails. You can buy it online or at some liqueur stores, but why spend the money when you can make it yourself at home? Simple syrup is a mixture of water and sugar. It is boiled until the sugar is dissolved and the water begins to thicken like, well, a syrup!
Simple syrup can be used to add sweetness to foods, or even increase the sweetness level in foods that are already a little sweet. A perfect example is a fruit salad. Even though fruit is already naturally sweet, some people like to add a simple syrup to their fruit salad to increase the sweetness, but to also act as a shiny glaze.
I have a recipe here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen for an Easy Simple Syrup. As you can see from the link above, store-bough simple syrups can be quite costly. Save your money and make your own with sugar, water, and patience.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR THIS DRINK:
- Gin – Gin is a distilled spirit that is made from grain and flavored with botanicals. The main ingredient is juniper berries, so you might detect a pine flavour depending on how sensitive your palette might be. Gin is originally a Dutch creation, but is now popular all around the world, and it is the main ingredient in a martini. Countless cocktail recipes include gin.
- Lemon Juice – Whenever you see a cocktail prepared with lemon juice, always assume that the juice is freshly squeezed. Under no circumstances is it okay to use anything you can buy from the store in bottle!
- Simple Syrup – Simple syrup is a very common ingredient in the world of cocktails. You can buy it online or at some liqueur stores, but why spend the money when you can make it yourself at home? Simple syrup is a mixture of water and sugar. It is boiled until the sugar is dissolved and the water begins to thicken like, well, a syrup!
- Club Soda – Club soda is similar to seltzer water, but in addition to carbon dioxide, various minerals such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, disodium phosphate, and occasionally sodium chloride are added. If a cocktail recipe calls for club soda, but you only have seltzer on hand, use it. The two are hardly distinguishable.
- Fresh Mint – Two sprigs of mint will do the trick. Be sure to put the mint in the glass first and bruise it with a cocktail muddler to get as much of the mint flavour and essence out as possible.
HOW TO MAKE A BELLE COLLINS COCKTAIL:
To prepare a Belle Collins Cocktail, stuff a few sprigs of fresh mint into a highball glass. Bruise the mint with a cocktail muddler. This will help to extract the mint flavour. Next, fill the glass half full with ice. Measure the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into the glass and use a cocktail stir spoon to stir until the liquid is chilled – about 30 seconds. Top up the glass with the club soda. Place a few pieces of fresh ice into the glass and serve immediately.
The Belle Collins Cocktail
- 2 1/2 ounces gin
- 1 3/4 ounces lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 3/4 cup club soda
- 2 springs fresh mint leaves
- Place the mint leaves into a highball glass. Use a cocktail muddler to bruise the leaves. Be sure to keep the leaves in the glass!
- Next, fill the glass half full with ice.
- Measure the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into the glass. Use a cocktail spoon to stir for 30 seconds to chill the drink.
- Top up the glass with the club soda. Add a few pieces of fresh ice.
- Serve immediately.