Originally popularized in the 1900s, the South Side is a classic cocktail with a fresher, lighter taste than many others from the era. It’s similar to a mojito, but with gin instead of rum, or a gin-based Mint Julep.
Easy to make and a bit lesser-known than many of its contemporaries, the South Side is enjoying a popular resurgence among cocktail fans around the world.
How to Make a South Side
You can make a South Side in less than five minutes, just follow our simple instructions!
- 2 ounces of your favorite gin
- 3/4 ounce of simple syrup
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- About 5 to 7 fresh mint leaves
- 1 mint sprig
- Fill a cocktail glass with ice until it is three-quarters full
- Add mint and lime juice to cocktail shaker
- Gently muddle mint
- Pack shaker three-quarters full with ice
- Add gin and simple syrup
- Shake vigorously for about 25 seconds or until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker
- Remove ice from cocktail glass
- Strain Shaker contents into cocktail glass
- Garnish with a mint sprig
History of the South Side Cocktail
As with many drinks with a history dating back more than 100 years, the origins of the South Side are hazy.
It first appeared as an official recipe in Huge Enslinn’s 1916 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Titled the South Side Fizz, it had club soda and more fruit than the recipe uses today but is otherwise the same.
Although some people think the drink is named after the South Side in Chicago, evidence supporting this is slim. Instead, many stories lead back to the 21 Club, a famous New York speakeasy. While they didn’t invent the drink, they did help popularize it.
Ways to Customize Your South Side
- Southside Fizz: Reduce the gin to an ounce and a half. After mixing the cocktail as described above, top the shaker off with either soda water or seltzer. It creates a fizzy effect that adds fresh, slightly acidic flavors.
- Add a Different Citrus: If you’re not a fan of lemon juice, try lime, grapefruit, orange, or another tart juice. Each alters the base flavor of the cocktail.
- Use Flavored Syrups: You can find flavored simple syrups at most liquor stores, or you can also make your own by cooking non-flavored syrup with fruit, spices, or herbs (even mint).
The South Side drink is very simple and never fails to delight. The next time you’re craving a classic cocktail, just pull up this recipe and get mixing!