"iced gin drink served in a tall glass" (called a Collins glass), 1940, American English; earlier Tom Collins (by 1878), of uncertain origin. Popular in early 1940s; bartending purists at the time denied it could be based on anything but gin. The surname (12c.) is from a masc. proper name, a diminutive of Col, itself a pet form of Nicholas (compare Colin).
updated on January 20, 2018