One of the great drinks of summer, the Tom Collins is one of the taller and more famous members of the sours family. The core sour formula – basically a good ratio of strong/sour/sweet – forms the basis for many of the great classics.
A whiskey sour, for instance, is basically 8 parts bourbon or rye shaken with 2 parts lemon juice and one part sugar syrup (sometimes a dash of raw eggwhite is added to thicken and smooth the drink) served on ice. A daiquiri, meanwhile, is just a rum sour made with lime juice strained into a martini glass. Use brandy as the base, lemon as the citrus and substitute Cointreau for the sugar and you've got a Sidecar; tequila, lime and Cointreau and you've got a margarita; gin, lemon and maraschino liqueur and it's the great Aviation.
Balance is everything with sours; given differing qualities of different brands of the same spirit and that every lemon and lime is different, use the recipe below as a guide, but keep tasting and adjusting until the drink is balanced to your satisfaction.