Here’s How to Make a Southside Cocktail

You don't need a bar's worth of ingredients to make a great drink. Here's how to make a retro Southside cocktail.

From Brandy Alexanders to Sazeracs, classic cocktails are definitely making a comeback. But you’re not limited to heavy, after-dinner cocktails when you want something retro. The Southside is a refreshing gin cocktail that has ties to the early 1900s. Here’s what you need to know about this old-school cocktail.

What’s a Southside Cocktail?

A Southside cocktail (sometimes written South Side) is a mixture of gin, simple syrup, lime and mint leaves. It’s pretty similar to a mojito, but is made with gin instead of rum.

The Origins of the Southside

Like most cocktails, it depends on whom you ask. Some think it was first whipped up at the South Side Sportsmen’s Club in Long Island as a summertime refreshment for wealthy businessmen around the 1940s.

Others believe it was invented decades earlier, during Prohibition. This theory goes the gin that was bootlegged on the South Side of Chicago was harsher than the gin on the North Side of the city. In order to make their product more palatable to speakeasy-goers, the South Side gin was mixed with simple syrup, mint and lime or lemon.

Since I grew up on the outskirts of Chicago, I lean toward this version out of hometown pride.

Regardless of where it’s from, this is a cocktail that deserves to be made at home. So, grab your gin and shaker and keep reading to learn how to make this Southside drink recipe.

How to Make a Southside Cocktail

What You’ll Need

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • Fresh mint leaves, about 5-7 leaves

Equipment:

  • Ice
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Cocktail glass

Step 1: Combine ingredients

First, fill your cocktail glass and a cocktail shaker each three-quarters of the way with ice.

Pour the gin, simple syrup and lime juice into the shaker and top with the mint leaves. For an intense mint flavor, muddle your mint in the bottom of the shaker before adding the ice and liquids.

Not sure which gin to use? Take a look at some of our favorite gin brands.

Editor’s tip: If the cocktail is too bitter for you, feel free to increase the simple syrup to 1 ounce.

Step 2: Shake, shake, shake

Cover the shaker with its top and shake the cocktail vigorously. You’ll know the cocktail is chilled once condensation forms on the outside of the shaker, after about 25 seconds.

Psst: These are the best cocktail shakers to have for your home bar.

Step 3: Pour and serve

Toss out the ice from your cocktail glass. Then, pour the Southside into your chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a mint leaf. Cheers!

Make the Southside Your Own

  • Add some fizz: Turn your cocktail into a Southside Fizz by reducing the gin to 1-1/2 ounces. Mix, shake and pour your cocktail as usual, then top with soda water or plain seltzer. By the way, here’s the difference between seltzer, tonic and club soda.
  • Add more flavors: Get creative with your cocktail by using flavored simple syrup. You can buy these at your local liquor store or make your own by adding herbs, spices or fruit to the syrup as it cooks. This is our super easy how-to for simple syrup.
  • Change the citrus: Lime isn’t for everyone, so feel free to swap in lemon, orange or grapefruit juice. It’ll adjust the overall flavor to your taste.

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Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.