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Southside cocktail


jsmeeker
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School me on the Southside cocktail. I see a few different variations. Lemon or lime. Served up or made into a fizz or highball.

Gary Regan offers up two versions in "Joy of Mixology". Both use lemon. One is served up, the other is served into a tall glass on the rocks with soda. I've seen posts here in the Cocktail forum that suggest using lime.

I have gin and lemons and limes and some mint leftover from my Derby Day mint juleps. Help me make a Southside.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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after digging around here some and watching Toby's video, I whipped up a Southside using lime juice, plus the dash of Angostura. Strained into chilled cocktail glass.

Wow..

This is a GOOD cocktail. And I can totally see how this would work as a fizz with tonic water. Also, I'd like to try it with a "stronger" gin. I used Plymouth for mine.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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My understanding is that many Southside recipes call for lemon but all the bartenders I know (Toby included) use lime. (There really seems to be a lot of variation in the books - DeGroff says to use lime, but tops with soda water. It's in Savoy with lemon and soda.) I've always had them with gin/simple/lime/mint.

I think the last time I made Southsides I used Beefeater and loved it. Such a simple yet fantastic cocktail.

Edited by daisy17 (log)
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The earliest recipes I've seen, in the Stork Club book and the Savoy Book, call for lemon juice and a little fizz water. No bitters. That said, I think that lime and mint often makes a more felicitous combination than lemon and mint.

I believe it's Dale DeGroff who says that the Southside came from the 21 Club in NYC. Laura Donnelly says in this NPR piece that the Southside comes from Chicago's South Side and dates to the Prohibition era -- but she seems a little too eager to accept the Chicago story as historical fact, and it seems improbable to me. Eric Felten also disagrees in the WSJ and suggests that it comes from the Southside Sportsmen's Club on Long Island (which would explain why this is an iconic East Coast country club cocktail and not an iconic Chicago cocktail today). The article points out that it is simply a Tom Collins with the addition of mint, which makes it unlikely it came from South Side gangsters in Chicago. Note also the spelling: "Southside" on Long Island, and "South Side" in Chicago.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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I had my first of many Southside's after reading Eric Felten's WSJ piece last summer. It's a terrific cocktail, and I was pleased to find a way to use the surfeit of mint I was blessed with. No doubt, I will go through many this year too. I used lemon, but lime sounds like fun too. Gin was Plymouth. Ahh, so many ways to play the game. :smile:

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Forget about soda in your southside, if you really want to drink something beautiful, put champagne instead.

...Southside Royale?

If you do this don't forget to bump the simple about 1/2 oz for every 2-3 oz of Champers, as champagne dries cocktails out.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I forgot to mention that the simeple syrup I had to make this drink was the mint infused simple syrup I made for my mint juleps.

Toby, you are right about this drink being a good way to get the vodka set to drink a cocktail NOT made with vodka.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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When The Violet Hour put the Southside on the Summer '70 list that is how we sold it, as a Gateway gin cocktail. Many times, when requested to made with vodka the bartender or server would recommend that it be made with "this great botanical, citrus infused vodka we had." It would then be made with Plymouth. All ways a hit.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Forget about soda in your southside, if you really want to drink something beautiful, put champagne instead.

...Southside Royale?

If you do this don't forget to bump the simple about 1/2 oz for every 2-3 oz of Champers, as champagne dries cocktails out.

Toby

Southside Royale indeed, but you can leave the extra sugar out of mine, I like 'em dry.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I understand having a "dry tooth". I understand that sophisticated cocktails are seen as not sickly sweet. But there is a point to having sugar in a cocktail, a balanced cocktail. It is no coincidence that from the beginning of cocktails there was a sweet component. Sugar makes it taste better. Obviously if you add to much the cocktail goes out of balance.

A cocktail like the Southside is three parts, a triptic, Booze (strong) Tart (lime/lemon) and Sweet (sugar delivered by simple.) We are not counting water content. If you go adding other things such as soda water or champagne one must jiggle the amounts of the other parts to keep it in balance. With out a little extra simple you have a gin mint rickey or a Rickey Royale.

Sugar is a very important. One of the greatest mixologists in the world (IMHO) refered to simple as FAT. It provides richness to the cocktail. It pushes against the acid to produce lush feel. Sure, you can make a sauce and not mount it with butter but why would you?

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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[...]

Sugar is a very important.  One of the greatest mixologists in the world (IMHO) refered to simple as FAT.  It provides richness to the cocktail.  It pushes against the acid to produce lush feel.  Sure, you can make a sauce and not mount it with butter but why would you?

Toby

I haven't had the pleasure of sampling your cocktails, so I'm not sure exactly where you're coming from with this. I'll try to clarify my position

To me the first common mistake I made was to make cocktails too sweet and too large with low quality booze. This is where I was in the 1980s.

The next thing I did to combat the sweetness is to pump up the sourness to counteract the sweetness. This gives you intensity and volume, but the booze is often lost. Probably for the best.

After that, the next thing I did was to start buying better booze and push the sourness and the liquor forward.

The place I'm at now, is dialing back on both the sourness and the sweetness, and leaving relatively decent booze at the fore of the cocktail, but also make a smaller cocktail.

The problem with the smaller cocktail, however, is you are really on a knife's edge with amounts of sweetener and sour. At the mercy of your ingredients, talent, and taste. Two people, making the same cocktail from the same recipe can have completely different results just due to minor tweaks.

To get back to the restaurant metaphor, a lot of restaurant food is too rich for me. Over salted, over seasoned, and over constructed. I can eat it every once in a while, but don't really enjoy it unless I am in a splurgy mood. At home, I seldom mount sauces with butter. Usually a wine deglazing and reduction with the pan juices and fond is fine for me.

Must be my proximity to Chez Panisse!

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Along these lines, one of the more interesting recipes I've found for the Clover Club was Robert Vermeire's, from "Cocktails: How to Mix Them":

Fill the Shaker half full of Broken Ice and add:

The white of a fresh egg

The juice of a small fresh Lime

1 teaspoonful of Raspberry Syrup

2/6 Gill of Gin

1/6 Gill of French Vermouth

Shake well and strain into a small wine-glass.  When no limes are to hand, lemons are usually used, and Grenadine is often substituted for Raspberry Syrup.

...

The Clover Leaf is a Clover Club shaken up with 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh mint and decorated with a mint leaf on the top.

In addition to the Vermouth, as noted by Mr. Wondrich from the original recipe, it's interesting that this is the only recipe I've seen for the "Clover Leaf" which calls for sprigs of mint to be shaken with the drink.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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[...]

Sugar is a very important.  One of the greatest mixologists in the world (IMHO) refered to simple as FAT.  It provides richness to the cocktail.  It pushes against the acid to produce lush feel.  Sure, you can make a sauce and not mount it with butter but why would you?

Toby

I haven't had the pleasure of sampling your cocktails, so I'm not sure exactly where you're coming from with this. I'll try to clarify my position

To me the first common mistake I made was to make cocktails too sweet and too large with low quality booze. This is where I was in the 1980s.

The next thing I did to combat the sweetness is to pump up the sourness to counteract the sweetness. This gives you intensity and volume, but the booze is often lost. Probably for the best.

After that, the next thing I did was to start buying better booze and push the sourness and the liquor forward.

The place I'm at now, is dialing back on both the sourness and the sweetness, and leaving relatively decent booze at the fore of the cocktail, but also make a smaller cocktail.

The problem with the smaller cocktail, however, is you are really on a knife's edge with amounts of sweetener and sour. At the mercy of your ingredients, talent, and taste. Two people, making the same cocktail from the same recipe can have completely different results just due to minor tweaks.

To get back to the restaurant metaphor, a lot of restaurant food is too rich for me. Over salted, over seasoned, and over constructed. I can eat it every once in a while, but don't really enjoy it unless I am in a splurgy mood. At home, I seldom mount sauces with butter. Usually a wine deglazing and reduction with the pan juices and fond is fine for me.

Must be my proximity to Chez Panisse!

Since this is a southside thread I will stick to talking about them.

When I first starting making cocktails I was adding to much sweetness and too many things so my southside would have looked like this.

2 oz Tanqueray Malaca

1 oz simple syrup

1 oz lime juice

Mint

a Drizzle of Chambord to sit prettily on the bottom of glass.

Ouch, there is nothing right or tasty about this drink unless to are under 16 and you are drinking to get hammered. Too sweet, not enough booze flavor, over complicated, not really a southside.

Then I found the errors of my ways and was trained by someone who had such a "dry tooth" that I swung in the opposite direction so my southside would look like...

2 1/2 oz Gin (probably Plymouth as it was the speed rail gin)

1/2 oz simple

3/4 oz lime

mint

Then I worked at this bar that made them like this

2 oz gin

3/4 oz simple

3/4 oz lime

mint

YUMMY, yes but the first southside of the night and the last would be different due to how the lime juice changed over the night or even if it just came out of the fridge. So the next bar I worked i learned to compensate for those small changes. Yes it is probably 1/16th of ounces but they do matter.

So now my southside at TVH looks like..

2 oz gin

3/4 oz simple

3/4 oz lime

mint

Bitters

And my bartenders taste everyone before it goes in a glass so they can make tweaks last second.

Does the dash make the drink into something else or does it just make an amped up version? i can see both sides of the southside.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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i like your focus on the balance and quality of the non-alc quotient but i would say a good aesthetic goal for the drink is trying to create a matching comparison of the top half of the drink to the bottom. it could be made with any dry gin and you may just have to shift your ratio from 2:.75:.75 to a 2:1:1 to capture the goal...

i've been reading alot about the sensory evalutation of wines and the analytical techniques of doing it. i don't really understand how bartenders can really evaluate the soundness of their lime juice on the fly from a spoonful on a drink in a busy room. its hard enough to evaluate a wine when too much of your other senses are tied up. if you taste drink after drink of different styles you may face the same problems of transitioning out of proper progression between different wines. like tasting a big cab then immediately having to evaluate a delicate white...

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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I guess that bartenders understand the arc of soundness of their citrus. It has to do with what the juice tasted like when it was fresh, how long it spent in the fridge, the type of bottle it was stored in, the temp. of the room, how fast one is running through it, and the time of year. It is more art than science I guess.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I always like to muddle at least one Lime wedge in my Southsides just for the oils extracted.

.75 simple

.75 lime

2 Gin ( its amazing how different gins make different drinks)

muddle one lime wedge (at least)

mint

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I understand having a "dry tooth".  I understand that sophisticated cocktails are seen as not sickly sweet.  But there is a point to having sugar in a cocktail, a balanced cocktail.  It is no coincidence that from the beginning of cocktails there was a sweet component.  Sugar makes it taste better.  Obviously if you add to much the cocktail goes out of balance. 

A cocktail like the Southside is three parts, a triptic,  Booze (strong) Tart (lime/lemon) and Sweet (sugar delivered by simple.)  We are not counting water content.  If you go adding other things such as soda water or champagne one must jiggle the amounts of the other parts to keep it in balance.  With out a little extra simple you have a gin mint rickey or a Rickey Royale. 

Sugar is a very important.  One of the greatest mixologists in the world (IMHO) refered to simple as FAT.  It provides richness to the cocktail.  It pushes against the acid to produce lush feel.  Sure, you can make a sauce and not mount it with butter but why would you?

Toby

You are absolutely right about the importance of sugar in drinks, I was merely expressing a personal preference and not necessarily reflecting how I would make the drink for a customer. I like all kinds of cocktails from the sweet to the very dry, and certainly no offense was intended.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Thank you for this thread! In my quest to rid the herb garden of excess mint, I've been trying various cocktails. I made my Southside in the proportions listed above with Sapphire gin and Angostura bitters. Delicious. I will definitely make it again.

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