Tuesday, August 22, 2017

south side

2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
6 leaf Mint

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a mint leaf.

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to investigate the South Side after giving it some thought after making the South Side Royale. I had never written up the South Side despite having had it several times and a few different ways (including as an egg white Sour) and having riffed on it in drinks such as with the Southend. Two questions in my mind were whether it was a lemon or lime drink with lemon being the more common but lime being the tastier to my palate and whether South Side was one word or two. Michael Madrusan's A Spot at the Bar has the drink described as a Gimlet (lime juice) with mint, whereas the P.D.T. Cocktail Book that I based my recipe off of has it as a lemon juice drink. The latter book provided the citation of Hugo Ensslin's 1916 Mixed Drinks. When I found my 1917 Mud Puddle reprint of Ensslin, I uncovered not the South Side but the South Side Fizz -- a Gin Fizz with mint that called for both lemon and lime. The 1916 date certainly squashes the stories of how this was a Prohibition era drink (unless it took 3 years to lose the soda water aspect). Those stories point to Prohibition era Chicago's South Side, the Southside Sportsmen's Club on Long Island, and the Prohibition-era speakeasy the 21 Club. I do not question that the drink was popular during Prohibition but the roots of it predate the 1919 legislation, and the exact location of origin is questionable since many big cities have a South Side.
Instead of opting for the split citrus, I went with P.D.T.'s lemon recommendation this time along with the proportions made popular by Boston's Drink. As such, the South Side proffered a mint, lemon, and pine bouquet to the nose. Next, lemon and bright green herbal notes on the sip gave way to gin and mint on the swallow with a lemony finish.

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