Southside is a translucent, green wonder cocktail that has long languished in the shadows of its hyperactive cousin, the Mojito. While the latter is a rum infused party girl, the former is a more dignified affair, though can be jazzed up with soda water to make a Southside Fizz, or with Champagne to make a Southside Royale.
Whatever variation you choose, this is without doubt a cocktail for summer, so next time the sun drenched skies force you into the paddling pool – take one of these in with you for good measure.
How to make a Southside cocktail:
8 mint leaves
60ml Gin (we recommend using Hendrick’s Gin)
30ml fresh lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake. Fine strain into a chilled Martini glass
How to make a Southside Fizz/Royale:
The Recipe is the same as above, but with the addition of soda water/Champagne
To make it a “fizz” – Add the mint to a shaker and gently mash. Pour in the gin, lime and sugar syrup and add ice. Shake. Fine strain into a Collins glass and top up with soda water.
If opting for the “Royale” – serve in a coupe glass and top with Champagne as required
A brief, inebriated history
The Southside’s origin tail is as muddled as the mint within it. The fact that there are three variations adds complication to the tale, but it is thought that the Southside Royale was debuted during the Prohibition period.
The earliest story to mention the drink comes from the Southside Sportsmen’s Club in Long Island during the 1890s, when Fizz’s were at the height of their popularity. The Southside Fizz was known to have been drunk here, and no wonder – the refreshing minty flavour it carries would have been the perfect antidote following a game of sport.
Harry Craddock, author of The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) featured a recipe for the Southside in his book and does not omit the soda, so it seems to suggest that the Southside Fizz was the first in the Southside family to come forward. To see Craddock’s recipe, scroll down to the bottom of this article.
A similar cocktail was drunk on the Southside of Chicago in the 1920s, hence another reason behind the cocktail’s name. During this time, Chicago was a turbulent area under gang rule. Joe Saltis, Frank McErlane and Al Capone were the three major bootleggers controlling the South of the city. A line between North and South was distinctly drawn, and one of the many distinctions between these areas was the way they served their drinks; North side mobsters – with access to more superior spirits – drank gin and ginger ale, while those in the South used lemon juice and sugar to mask the harsh taste of the black market alcohol.
Another place from which the Southside is said to have originated is the 21 Club in New York City. The club, established by Jack Kreindler and Charlie Berns, was one of the great Speakeasy’s during Prohibition and was designed so that the bar and all of its alcohol could be quickly hidden via an intricate maze of levers and chutes should the police show up. The pair were never caught, and the club still exists today (and still serves up a mean Southside).
Original Southside recipe:
The juice of ½ lemon
½ tablespoonful of powdered sugar
2 sprigs of fresh mint
1 glass dry gin
Shake well and strain into a medium glass. Add dash of siphon soda water. The Savoy Cocktail Book, Harry Craddock. 1930.
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