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South-of-the-Border Tom Collins

It’s Friday, whose ready for a cocktail? Yeah, me too, especially this one. It’s got a slight kick of heat from the ancho chile—and you guys know how much I love heat in my cocktails. But I’m prego, so have an extra one for me or else I’m gonna have to force Matt to have another in the absence of you doing so.

South of the Border Tom Collins | Bakers Royale

And that’s not ideal, because he’s not a drinker and it just puts him to bed early—which sucks for me because I’m a late owl.

South of the Border Tom Collins| Bakers Royale

You know what happens when I’m “owling” my way through a late night? I watch way too many crime shows. For some reason, I can’t stop myself. I’m fascinated by the good guy vs. bad guy chase and all that forensic stuff that always seems to catch the wrong-doer. Which isn’t so bad until the thing growing in me starts to jump on my bladder and I’m too scared to even leave the bed to use the restroom.

South of the Border Tom Collins | Bakers Royale

It really drives Matt crazy, because I’ll gently nudge him and say, “Babe” if only for the comfort of knowing he’s awake should my imagination really go ape-crazy and I start taking my shadow for someone coming through our window. I can’t even tell you how much this annoys him to be woken up for my non-sensical fear.

So for the sake of my marriage, because I’d take one for your team—make this, have an extra one for me—it’s Friday, so go for it. Cheers to sticking together!

South of the Border Tom Collins from Bakers Royale 210x260

this recipe

South-of-the-Border Tom Collins

Yield: Makes 4 servings


Recipe from McCormick.com

Ancho-Arbol Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 dried chilies de arbol, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper

Tom Collins:

  • 2 limes, each cut into 4 wedges, divided
  • 8 sprigs fresh mint, divided
  • 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, divided
  • Cracked or crushed ice
  • 1 cup gin, divided
  • 1 cup Ancho-Arbol Syrup, divided
  • 2 cups club soda, divided
  • Thin lime slices and maraschino cherries, for garnish


  1. FOR the Ancho-Arbol Syrup, mix all ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 hours. Strain through double layer of cheesecloth or coffee filters. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. (This makes enough syrup for 4 cocktails.)
  1. FOR each cocktail, place 2 lime wedges, 2 sprigs mint and 1 sprig cilantro in cocktail shaker. Muddle the lime with a muddler or wooden spoon to release the lime juice. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1/4 cup each gin and Ancho-Arbol Syrup; mix well. Shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into tall ice-filled beverage glass. Top each glass with 1/2 cup club soda. Garnish with a lime slice and a maraschino cherry. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 4 cocktails.