Drink of the Week: The Southside
It’s still summer cocktail season if you ask us. Septummer, its a real thing and we’re here to embrace it. Nothing says summer to me like a good gin and tonic–except maybe a good mojito. But why choose? Just imagine how summery your cocktail would taste if it could combine what’s best about a gin and tonic with what’s best about a mojito. Well, that’s just what the Southside does. Take the gin from the gin and tonic and the mint from the mojito, shake, serve over ice, and there you have it: summer refreshment in a glass. Since my friend Dan introduced me to the Southside to celebrate the first hot day of the year, I’ve been in the mood for little else.
As with most cocktails, there a bunch of variations on the recipe out there. So, look around and try some out before landing on your favorite. Here’s a pretty typical one that I use as my base:
Recipe for One*
*From DrinksMixer.com (their recipe here)
- 2 oz. gin
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
- 2 pieces of lime
- 2 mint sprigs
- 3-4 oz. soda
Muddle one sprig of mint with the lime pieces, lime juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a bar glass. Add gin and shake well. Pour into a goblet over crushed ice and stir until the outer-glass frosts. Top with soda water, garnish with remaining sprig of mint, and serve.
Like I said, I use this as my base, but I do make a few minor variations:
- First of all, this could be obvious, but drinksmixer.com doesn’t mention to add ice before shaking. You should do that.
- I find that the mint doesn’t need to be both muddled and shaken. The shaking alone brings out the mint sufficiently. So I muddle the lime and simple syrup, add the mint, gin, and ice, and shake. I use about 6 leaves for that first ‘sprig,’ by the way.
- I think they suggest too much soda. Steph prefers her without any soda at all; I like to add a much smaller top of soda.
- I agree that it tastes best over crushed ice, but I’m too lazy to do all that crushing. I use cubes, and it still tastes pretty great.
Recipe for a Party (of 12)
Like it’s mojito cousin, the Southside works great for parties. Mix it right in the pitcher and serve.
- 3 cups of gin
- 1 1/2 cups simple syrup
- 1 cup lime juice (this might be a good time to use store-bought juice)
- 3 limes, cut in quarters
- 6-8 sprigs of mint
- 1 cup of soda
In the bottom of a large pitcher, muddle the lime quarters and simple syrup. Add the mint, and muddle again, but very lightly–mint is pretty delicate; it doesn’t take much to bring out the essence. Add the gin and lime juice, fill the pitcher with ice, and stir. Add in the soda. Here even more than with the single serving, you want to go light on the soda, since the melting ice in the pitcher will naturally dilute the potency of the drink over time as well. Serve straight out of the pitcher into ice-filled glasses, using a slotted spoon to keep the mint and lime in the pitcher.
Finally, may I suggest that you grow your own mint. It’s easy to grow in a backyard or even a window box (as Steph and I do), and two plants will give you all you need for your summer cocktail needs.
And lastly, the bonus feature about this week’s drink is that its a nice tribute to the land of my childhood: Chicago’s South Side.
Here’s to Chicago, mint, and Septummer!
Photo credz: Photo #1: uk.thebar.com // Photo #3: olivemagazine.com