This is a drink that I was most thoroughly introduced to by Jacob Briars, socialist, bon vivant, erstwhile global Professor of vodka for 42Below and the eleventh best bar chef in New Zealand.
The Southside is essentially a Gin daiquiri with mint. It is a simple drink that relies entirely on the quality of its ingredients. I’ve found that the round mint gives the best result and I prefer it with a softer Gin, like Moore’s or South but it is palatable whichever spirit you bring to the mix.
It’s another of those great drinks that got their start during the Prohibition. Although it’s Chicago roots set it apart from most of the classics and, appropriately are wrapped up in the Gangland culture and history of that time. The territories in the city were split North & South, the boys in the North had cornered the market in high quality spirits, smuggled across the border from Canada, leaving the Saltis-McErlane gang with access only to hooch and swill, manufactured locally and of dubious provenance. The mobsters used sugar, citrus and mint to cover the imperfections in their products. While history has not been as kind to Frankie McErlane as it was to Al Capone, Frankie blazed trails outside of the field of mixology, being the first man to use the Tommy gun and racking up at least 15 bodies during the bootlegging wars.
Two teaspoons of caster sugar, the juice of half a lime and 60 mls of South Gin. Combine in a boston glass and add eight leaves of mint. (don’t muddle it, you’ll only make it bitter.) Ice the glass and give it a good, hard shake. Double strain the mixture into a cocktail glass, a few of the smaller pieces of mint might get through, but it makes for a pretty drink with a few specks. Slap a couple of leaves over the glass to boost the smell and the flavour. Garnish with a single mint leaf.
What you’ll be left with is a great balance of sweet, tart and strong with an amazing cool element that makes this a perfect summer drink and in the Professor’s own words “Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrresh.”