Southside

Gin’s version of a Mojito, less ubiquitous but more striking.

Our Favourite Recipe:

7 Mint Leaves

60ml Gin

30ml Fresh Lime Juice

15ml Sugar Syrup

Shake all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a Martini glass.

In order to make the Southside Fizz, use the same recipe but follow the method below.

Add the mint into a shaker, and gently mash. Pour in the next three ingredients and shake with ice before straining into a Collins glass. Top up with Soda water as required.

To make the Royale, instead of topping up with Soda water just top up with champagne instead.

As taken from: Difford, Simon. Diffordsguide Cocktails, The Bartender’s Bible. 10th Edition.

History/Origins:

The Southside cocktail has three main variations, each of which has a slightly different name; firstly there is quite simply the Southside, then the Southside Fizz,  and finally the Southside Royale whose origination is debated but was thought to be created sometime during Prohibition. This has often lead to a somewhat confusing understanding of what exactly each of these cocktails are, and the histories that distinguish them. Especially because it is hard to decipher which establishment provided the original cocktail first.

The earliest story that mentions one of the Southside variants is set at the Southside Sportsmen’s Club in Long Island during the 1890’s when Fizz’s were at the peak of their popularity. Accordingly, it was the Southside Fizz that was known to have been drunk here, and the sweet, refreshing minty flavour that it produces would have been the perfect antidote following a game of sport. Craddock’s cocktail guide does indeed write up the Southside Fizz, there is no mention of leaving out the soda. This appears to suggest therefore that the Southside Fizz was the original of its repertoire.

The same drink served in a longer glass was often drunk on the Southside of Chicago in the 1920’s, hence another reasoning behind the cocktail’s name, which also seems to provide some legitimacy to the story.

Chicago during this time, in contrast to the ‘21’ Club was a turbulent place, with gangs roaming around the city guarding their bars, booze and abodes. Joe Saltis, Frank McErlane, alongside Al Capone were the three major bootleggers controlling the Southside. A line between the North and South was distinctly drawn, and one of the many ways that they distinguished themselves can be seen in the concoction and naming of their newly established drink: the North side mobsters drank a mix of gin and ginger ale, having brought control over the more superior spirits whilst on the South they used lemon juice and sugar. Because of Prohibition, alcohol was made illegal and kept on a black market which meant it’s purity and taste was often too harsh and strong, hence the need to mask and add such strong flavoured additions. When or why mint was added remains to be unknown.

The Southside, believed to have been created at Jack and Charlie’s otherwise known as the ‘Twenty-One’ Club, in New York City soon became the drink to be seen with by the rich and fashionable alike, and was thus spread further North-East to the Hamptons and beyond. Without soda water and poured instead into a Martini glass, the drink transformed itself from being requisite whilst lounging around on the lawn to being affiliated with a more sophisticated and elegant experience. The Southside became fitting for glamorous speakeasies in which Hemingway and other celebrities became regulars.

The ‘21’Club, located at 21 West and 52nd Street, was one of the great Speakeasy’s during Prohibition, having been strategically designed so that the bar and all of its alcohol could be quickly dispensed with via an intricate maze of levers and chutes when the police were around. The bar would magically disappear, whilst the abundant collection of wine crates, which included Richard Nixon’s and Elizabeth Taylor’s very own bottles, were stored in the cellar of the building next door, avoiding ever being found. After this ‘vanishing’ bar’s creation, not a drop of alcohol was to be found by the police on this site.

Where the Southside Royale was created is even more difficult to locate. It would seem plausible to have been adapted at either of the more affluent bars, likely due to the addition of champagne.

Original 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.

How to drink it:

Ideal during the summer months, when a cooling, sweet and refreshing drink is the only thing that will suffice.

 

 

“Lips that touch liquor shall not touch ours.” A common poster banded about during the Prohibition by Protestant ladies.

Find ‘21’Club here: www.21club.com/web/onyc/21_club.jsp