You think that guy at the bar's story about saving his elderly neighbor's kitten from a tree last weekend was a hoax? If we're being honest here, it probably was. That being said, he won't be taking the title of biggest bar hoax in New York (and even national) history. Because that title was awarded nearly 150 years ago and likely won't be transferring hands any time soon.
In The Great Tom Collins hoax of 1874, in which people in New York (and, we'll be honest, Philadelphia and other 19th century American epicenters) would send their friends in search of a quite fictional Tom Collins. Going from bar to bar, these gullible mates would be told that they had just missed him and directed to the next location on their endless search loop. Sooner or later, clever saloons began cranking out the classic drink in response to "Do you know Tom Collins?" inquiries.
Within two years, the first Tom Collins recipe appeared in noted saloon keeper Jerry Thomas' 1876 edition of The Bartender's Guide
, with the drink growing increasingly popular after prohibition - so much so that it now has its own glass named after it.
[Photo: We found the real Tom Collins, who is keeping things classy as the current Archbishop of Toronto via]